Columnist Clinton

Article excerpt

President writes bylined article for L.A. Times, offering his impression of U.S. Open golf site

How do you get the president of the United States to write a column for your sports section?

Easy, says Los Angeles Times sports editor Bill Dwyre. Just ask him.

Bill Clinton did indeed write a bylined article on golf for a Times special section tied to the June 15 U.S. Open, but not before giving editors deadline jitters.

The idea to recruit Clinton came from section editor Mike James, Dwyre said.

"Mike must have fallen on his head in the shower because he came in one morning and said, `How about getting President Clinton to write a golf piece for us?'" Dwyre recalled. "We thought the idea was so crazy we told him to go for it."

James' phone call to a presidential aide followed. She checked with the president, who surprisingly agreed, Dwyre said.

Clinton, an avid golfer, was asked to write about his impressions of the Congressional Country Club, the site of this year's U.S. Open, what players the course favors, whether he had any personal experiences there to share with readers, and his evaluation of each of the course's 18 holes.

The country club is located in Bethesda, Md., about 10 miles from the White House.

The special section was scheduled to run dune 12 and the copy deadline of June 6 rolled in with no copy from Clinton.

"We were really getting worried," Dwyre remembered. "We called again and were assured by the aide that the president had all his notes for the article on his desk and would knock out a story as quickly as possible. I suggested that he send the notes to us and we would put them together."

The answer came back that same day No way, the presidential assistant said. …