It’s a question fans of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis have had for years: Does the Dalai Lama play golf? Is he really a “big hitter”?
We went to the Dalai Lama himself for the answer. But first, some background.
In the movie “Caddyshack” — directed and co-written by the late Harold Ramis — the character Carl Spackler, played by Bill Murray, recounts caddying in Tibet for the Dalai Lama.
“The flowing robes, the grace, bald … striking,” Spackler recounts. “So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one — big hitter, the Lama — long, into a 10,000-foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga … gunga, gunga-lagunga.”
But, in the story recounted by Spackler, the Dalai Lama leaves without giving him a tip.
Spackler: “And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”
The line apparently stuck with President Obama, who, in his statement on Monday’s passing of Ramis, made what is almost certainly the first official reference to “Caddyshack” in a White House press release.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.”
Back to the Dalai Lama.
At the very end of an interview with the Dalai Lama last week, ABC News asked the question: “Do you play golf?”
Looking to his translator to make sure he understood the question, the Dalai Lama said no, he does not play golf. But it turns out he can play an excellent game of ping pong. In fact, said he had once, as a child, defeated of the post powerful Chinese leaders of the 20th century: Zhou Enlai, the premier of China from 1949 to 1976.