Tribute to Gerald Ford
The SI jinx does not wander into politics. One month and a day before he ascended to the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974, then-Vice-President Ford graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. His six-page story, written with John Underwood, began: "One lesson to be learned in reaching an age where you are both a viable politician and a washed up lineman is that past glories are not negotiable in the open market. When you stop winning they not only start booing, they start forgetting."
Coming out of college, Ford had offers to play for the Detroit Lions or Green Bay Packers for $110 per game, but the future president chose instead to pursue a law degree at Yale.
With Watergate, which Ford called "our long national nightmare", behind him, the President played golf during a working vacation on Mackinac Island in Michigan on July 13, 1975.
Family and friends joined Ford on the field at Michigan Stadium as the Wolverines retired his No. 48 football jersey on Oct. 8, 1994. Never a team captain, Ford, a center, earned the team's most valuable player honors as a senior before graduating in 1935.
President Ford loved to ski and often hit the slopes in Colorado (shown here in Vail in Dec. 1974).
Often the butt of jokes on Saturday Night Live and late night television shows, Ford enjoyed the company of Bob Hope (right) and other comedians like Chevy Chase who portrayed him as clumsy.
To keep in shape, Ford often swam in the White House pool.
Playing in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on New Year's Day 1990, Ford showed off both his enduring strength and everlasting love for the greens.
An alumnus of the East-West Shrine game, Ford gave a pre-game speech to the East team on Jan. 12, 2002 in San Francisco, the same city where Ford played in the game on Jan. 1, 1935.
While President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton prepared to tee off, Ford was already in the swing of things at the Indian Wells Country Club before playing in the Pro-Am round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic golf tourney on Feb. 15, 1995.
Through the wins and losses, both behind closed doors and out on the gridiron, the former President held onto his football memories as some of his best and longest lasting.
Known for occasionally hitting shots into the crowd, President Ford -- seen here on Feb. 22, 1978, during the pro-celebrity round in Lauderhill, Fla. -- was an avid golfer.