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Everyone knows that a good golf game is no political handicap. But Golf Digest is making it official. The magazine’s annual list of the “Washington Top 200: Golf Digest Political Ranking” includes a lot of lobbyists with serious clout — and a few members of Congress, of course. The lobbyist with the best golf game, according to the magazine? T-Mobile’s Tony Russo, 39. He’s a bit of a ringer, having won the Illinois Junior Championship back in 1986. Checking in by phone from vacation in Arizona (where he’s working with a golf teacher), Russo says he’s happy to be No. 1. He still tries to get out a couple of times a week when Congress isn’t in session, he says, and often plays with his dad, Marty Russo, a former congressman who now works for Cassidy & Associates and came in at No. 28 on the list. Another favorite golfing partner is Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), Tony Russo’s former boss, who came in at a respectable 48. The rigors and distractions of Biden’s most recent presidential run probably cut into his ranking, Russo says, adding that Biden would “probably be even better if he played more.” Others on the list include Alex Urrea of Greenberg Traurig, Jeff Becker of the Beer Institute, Ed Rogers of BGR Holding, and Joel Jankowsky of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Those on the list say they do take some good-natured ribbing on their prowess. “A lot of my partners want to know why I’m not working enough,” Fred Eames of Hunton & Williams says with a chuckle. Eames notes that he tries to participate in charity tournaments when possible, and, during the winter, “my living room ceiling is just high enough that I can swing a club.”
Carrie Levine can be contacted at [email protected].

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