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Interview With Mike Ritz of the Golf Channel

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Congressional Country Club
Bethesda, MD
July 5, 2008

QUESTION: First of all, thanks very much. It's quite an honor to have you join us here on the Golf Channel today, Madame Secretary. 


QUESTION: I know you love golf.


QUESTION: This is certainly an event that honors the military, so it's an obvious mix, a natural mix, for you to be out here to enjoy it.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, it's great, first of all, to be out in the wonderful surroundings here -- it's beautiful -- but also what they're doing for our troops. I'm here today honoring Marines. Last year, we were here for wounded warriors. The America Supports You movement has really been terrific, and Americans really do support these wonderful, young volunteers who defend us and defend our freedom.

QUESTION: Right. See how much the fans appreciate it. It's a wonderful opportunity for everybody today. Thank you. So it's nice to see you joining in that.

Now, I understand you started your Independence Day weekend with a round of golf?

SECRETARY RICE: I did. I have my family here and some friends, and so we went out and we hit a few yesterday. I don't get out often enough because I'm traveling all the time most of the time, but we did. We played 18.

QUESTION: Now, how did you get hooked? I know you started playing golf about, what, four years ago? What about the game --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it'll actually be three years this year, three years in August that I've been playing and playing a lot. A lot for me.


SECRETARY RICE: But I went out with -- on vacation and my cousin and her husband -- her husband is a very good golfer -- he gave her golf lessons. I went along for the ride and found that I really love the sport. 

QUESTION: What do you like most about it? What got you?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, there are a couple of things. I really like the fact that that one little ball, you should be able to hit it the same way every time, and you never can. So it's a challenge. Golf is a constant challenge. Every shot is a challenge, mentally, physically, but also I like being out in these beautiful places and beautiful surroundings.

QUESTION: It can be the greatest stress reliever. It also causes stress. You've got to make sure you handle it the proper way. 

SECRETARY RICE: That's right. Well, in my life, just to be out and walking around, and sometimes when I come off a long trip I'll actually go out and hit a few balls just to get (inaudible).

QUESTION: Now, I'm not very diplomatic. So I’ll just ask you this straight out. What's your best round and what's your handicap?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, my best round, unfortunately, was pretty early on. I had an 89. It was just one of those days when I couldn't do anything wrong. I maybe didn't know what I was doing. But I just got my handicap and I'm told I'm about a 21 -- 21, 24, and I'm looking to bringing that down over the next several years.

QUESTION: Well, I imagine you'll have a little bit more time to play golf next year.

SECRETARY RICE: I sure hope so. Right. 

QUESTION: It's been said that if you want to get to know a (inaudible) you go out and play a round of golf with him or her. So I'm just wondering, I know in the past and I believe it was last year you tried to get a round of golf with the Foreign Minister of Australia, I believe. I remember reading that. 

SECRETARY RICE: Right. That's right.

QUESTION: Wouldn't it be a great way, really, to kind of bridge countries, to go out and play a round of golf?

SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. I think when people get a chance to go out -- first of all, this is a sport that is really (inaudible) around the world. It's an international sport, and that's (inaudible). But also you can get out, you can be in these beautiful surroundings, it can be a little bit more relaxed. And I think that people could get out and play, probably not to negotiate on the golf course. You can't concentrate on both.

QUESTION: Well, thanks for your time, and we're glad we got you hooked on the game. 

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. It's a pleasure. 

QUESTION: Great. Enjoy the day.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.


Released on July 6, 2008

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