PYONGYANG - Bobby Jones, move over. In the after-world of departed golfers who quit the game while they were ahead, Jones stood alone since 1930. The golf legend who retired an amateur at age 28 after winning four of the sports's major championships, set the gold standard for those quitting the game at their zenith.
But that was before the diminutive Chairman of the Democratic Peoples's Republic of North Korea picked up a set of TaylorMades for the very first time, and incredibly shot a ho-hum 38 under par round of 34, including 11 holes-in-one at the Pete Dye designed Pyongyang Golf Club.
The gift that makes the game easier for some than others is difficult to quantify. For instance, Tiger Woods at the age of three was amazing television audiences with his precocious golf skills. But nothing Tiger has done since (disregarding his ability to juggle a wife and 19 Ho's at one time) has come close to what Kim Jong Il accomplished on that incredible day in 1994.
Holing out one shot after another from the tee or fairway, at distances as long as 280 yards, was not only expected; it was mandatory that day.
Many golf authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom reacted with skepticism upon hearing that the then 52-year-old could have shot this record score on his first attempt. However, Carl Spackler, who had just finished looping for the Dalai Lama in Tibet, was on Kim's bag that day. Conscripted by the dictator during a stop-over at the Pyongyang airport on the way back to the States, the placid-minded star of Caddyshack verified that the Commie provocateur had had his way that day.
"The motherf..ker even asked me what the putter was used for. He didn't have a clue. I never had to pull it all day. Holed everything out."
According to Spackler, Kim Jong downed a quart of Hennessey cognac at $630 a bottle during the round. And most impressively, never had to stop and take a piss.
As far as a tip, Carl was given his choice of Dong missiles to be aimed up his butt. He demurred and said, "The pleasure was mine."