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Friday, November 10, 2000

Waihee spills
some Clinton
golf tales

The former governor hopes
to join the president in a game
at Mauna Lani on Monday

By Gregg K. Kakesako

If avid golfer Bill Clinton joins John Waihee on the greens at Mauna Lani's north course Monday, he will be back at what Waihee said is "one of his favorite courses in the country."

The schedules of Clinton and his potential golf partners during his brief Hawaii stop were not yet confirmed.

Waihee was supposed to be out of state this weekend, but said he is trying to adjust his schedule so he can meet with one of his favorite golfing partners.

Gov. Ben Cayetano and Big Island Mayor Stephen Yamashiro hope to join Waihee and Clinton in the same foursome.

Former Gov. George Ariyoshi was invited, but his law office said he is traveling in Asia and won't be back until Wednesday.

Waihee said Clinton, a 12-handicapper, describes his Mauna Lani golfing experience 15 years ago in the latest issue of "Golf Digest."

He refers to it as "one of his funniest moments," said Waihee, Hawaii's first native Hawaiian governor.

"I warned him that I had an advantage since he was playing here and I was Hawaiian," Waihee said.

In the article Clinton says that Waihee explained to him that "he's a direct descendant of King Kamehameha, who unified the Hawaiian Islands, and that they really believe in ancestor guardians so you can continue the spirit."

Waihee said they were approaching the 18th hole when the president hit a ball into the nearby black lava fields. "Why didn't you tell me there was lava over there?" Clinton asked Waihee.

The Hawaii governor responded: "You didn't ask."

"Then I hit my ball and it went into the same lava fields," Waihee added, "but then it bounced back into the middle of the fairway. I told him that my aumakua was looking out for me."

Clinton's reply was: "Where do I convert?"

Waihee said that he can't remember what the two eventually holed out at, but "I know he likes the Hawaii course."

Clinton is expected to arrive at Kona airport Sunday night for a quick golfing respite.

Then he travels on to an economic conference summit in Brunei with more than 20 Asia-Pacific leaders. Clinton plans no public functions during his seventh visit to the islands, the White House said yesterday.

By late Monday Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea -- who skipped her senior year at Stanford University to help with her mother's successful run for a New York Senate seat -- will be on their way to Brunei, located on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo in the South China Sea. Hillary Clinton is expected to join the president in Vietnam.

On Thursday, Clinton will fly to Vietnam for a three-day stay, visiting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

He has decided against traveling to North Korea on this trip.

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