Golf & Politics 2008
Washington's Top 200
Golf Digest Political Ranking
This mix of senators, representatives, appointed officials, lobbyists and other power brokers represents a Washington golf scene still vibrant despite post-Abramoff limits on golf as entertainment.
OUR NEW NO. 1
Tony Russo, Lobbyist/T-Mobile, +1.7 Handicap Index
Tony Russo has been around golf his whole life. The son of former congressman Marty Russo (No. 28) is a new member at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. In 1986, Tony won the Illinois Junior Championship and got an invitation to caddie for Jack Nicklaus at a Kemper Lakes exhibition that included Greg Norman, Bob Tway and Fuzzy Zoeller. As if the caddieing gig wasn't enough, the then-freshman at the University of Florida got a free ride back to school on Nicklaus' plane, where he spent the trip playing cards with Nicklaus and Norman. "I wrote a paper about it for school," says Russo, "Something about 'I beat the Masters and British Open champs. Too bad it was in gin rummy.' "
Russo transferred to the University of Illinois after Florida, and his friends include tour pros Steve Stricker, Chris DiMarco and Dudley Hart. Russo considered turning pro, but after a year of working in Arizona with his teacher, Ed Oldfield, he opted for law school at DePaul and went on to work for Sen. Joe Biden before moving into telecommunications and his job with T-Mobile.