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The Loop

Now that Ike's in, how about George H.W. Bush?

June 26, 2009

The presidency did not tend to interfere with Dwight D. Eisenhower's passion for golf, and it contributed significantly to popularizing the game in the '50s and beyond, for which he will be honored with induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, the Hall announced on Friday.

Eisenhower will be the first president inducted into the Hall in ceremonies at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., on Nov. 2.

It says here the second president that deserves to be inducted is George Herbert Walker Bush, and given that he's 85 (though he's still jumping from airplanes), better to do it sooner than later.

Bush's own passion for golf has manifested itself in a variety of ways beyond his simply playing the game (and doing so at a pace to which the rest of the golf world ought to aspire).

He has been the honorary chairman of the First Tee program since its inception in 1997. In May, at a ceremony at the Players Championship, he received the PGA Tour's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, he received the Bob Jones Award from the USGA, its highest honor in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship and awarded to "a person who emulates Jones' spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game and its players." In 1997, the PGA of America presented him with its Distinguished Service Award.

In 1996, Bush served as the honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup and has attended each Presidents Cup since.

Then, too, is the family golf heritage; his father Prescott Bush and grandfather George Herbert Walker were each president of the USGA, while the Walker Cup is named for his grandfather. Here is Dan Jenkins' story on the Bush Golf Dynasty from February's Golf Digest.

It is by any measure a Hall of Fame legacy, one that awaits only official sanctioning.

-- John Strege