|At the Courage Cup April 18 at Army Navy Country Club, Bob Okun gets a swing lesson from Anthony Netto at "Stand up and Golf!"|
By Michael Williams
ALEXANDRIA, VA. - It's May, so it must be golf season. In our first in a series of local power players on the golf course, this week we take a nine-question swing around the course with Bob Okun, NBC's longtime lobbyist.
- Name: Bob Okun
- Occupation: Entrepreneur
- Hometown: Glen Cove, Long Island, NY
- Education: Duke University
- Career highlights:
o 30 Years working in Washington, DC
o 14 Years in the Executive and Legislative branches of government
o 16 Years in corporate as head of NBC Universal's Washington, DC government relations office
o Founded new consulting firm The O Team in 2012, specializing in policy, government relations and entertainment
|Okun and Steve Blankenship at a recent awards |
ceremony in DC.
- Began playing golf at 12, as a caddie on Long Island
- Belongs to/plays at: Washington Golf and CC (Arlington, VA), Robert Trent Jones Golf Club (Manassas, VA), Creighton Farms Golf Club (Aldie, VA)
- Bucket List Course(s): Whistling Straits (WI), Kapalua (HI), Troon (Scotland)
1.What makes Washington, DC special?
“It’s diversity. It’s a world capital. When you’ve lived and worked here for 30 years like I have, you see the cultural and intellectual diversity world that’s in the world, not just the country. You never know who is going to be in your foursome.”
2.Fill in the blank: “If it wasn’t for ____ , I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
“My children. As a bachelor or even as a married man, I didn’t have and appreciation for how fulfilling family life could be. It was actually the kids tat got us into philanthropy. They teach you humility and to listen. I pretty much just follow their lead.”
3.Who’s the best player you ever played with that wasn’t a pro?
“Alan Mullaly, who is currently the CEO of Ford Motors but was in the aerospace industry at the time. We played at Burning Tree; he’s one of the best I’ve seen. Not a beautiful swing, but just scored well. Striping ball after ball. I lost money.”
4.What was your proudest moment on a golf course?
“Holing out at St. Andrew’s for a 69 the first time I played it. I hit zero traps in 18 holes. And parred the Road Hole and the 18th. I actually shot 73 later that same day. Having great caddy really helped.”
5.What was you most embarrassing moment on a golf course?
“I overslept on a tee time for a tournament at RTJ and got DQ’ed.”
6. Name the three other players in your all-time dream foursome?
a. Bruce Lee
b. Jack Lalanne
c. Ben Hogan
7. If you were the King of Golf for a day, what would you do?
“Waive the greens fees at the top clubs in the world for a day and let any USGA member play them on first come, first served basis . I’d democratize the game for a day. And veterans go to the head of that line.”
8. At the 19th Hole: Beer, Wine, Whiskey or Martini?
(Laughs) “Iced tea with Equal.”
Would you rather win an Oscar, a Nobel, the DC Lottery or the Masters?
“I’d choose the Oscar! It would help with the new venture (The O Team). But ten years ago, definitely the Masters.”
Michael Williams is Contributing Editor of Newschannel 8's Capital Golf Weekly, a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a Contributor to Bunkershot.com and GolfWRX.com