When I was sworn in as mayor of Los Angeles in 1993, I didn't
realize golf would be such a big part of the job. A couple of
important policy-making sessions happen each month at Riviera or
Bel-Air. Not that I mind. Without them, I'd hardly ever play.
My most memorable round was with President Clinton on the
Saturday before last year's Democratic National Convention. No
private club would host his security detail, so we went to Rancho
Park, a municipal course. Our gallery consisted of men in black
suits and Ray-Bans. You never notice the Secret Service until you
hit into the trees and hear an "Ow!" Soon after we teed off,
Clinton asked, "Is there anything I can do for you back in
Washington?" I told him we were trying to get funding from the
Justice Department for a local project. On Monday morning I got a
call from Janet Reno asking how much we needed.
Every year I visit our hometown Tour event, the Nissan Open. My
favorite memory was when a 16-year-old Tiger Woods made his Tour
debut, in '92. In fact, I was on Riviera's range next to him a
couple of months before that event. Poor kid. He didn't have the
first idea about how to hit a ball, so I gave him a few tips.
The only bright side of leaving office will be getting to play
more. Eddie Merrins, the pro at Bel-Air, recently gave me a
nine-hole playing lesson, and I shot 42. Of course my next time
out, at Los Angeles Country Club, I shot 110. But that's golf--the
only thing that's as tough, and as fun, as being mayor of Los
February 26, 2001
Richard Riordan, 70, will complete his second term in June.