Tennis Star: George W. Bush Beer Bender Led to DUI

John Newcombe breaks silence on 1976 ticket
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2014 4:15 PM CDT
Tennis Star Tells How W Bush Got DUI on Beer Bender
Former Wimbledon champions Bjorn Borg, right, and Australia's John Newcombe watch the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Sunday, July 3, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Mere days before the US presidential election in 2000, George W. Bush admitted to an old DUI arrest. Now the details of that beer-guzzling night are leaking out, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. "George was a bit of a party boy in those days," former tennis champion John Newcombe says in a radio interview in Australia. According to Newcombe, George HW Bush—then director of the CIA—invited the tennis player and his wife (W. Bush's younger sister) to the family's holiday home in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Labor Day in 1976. Also joined by Peter Roussel, then elder Bush's press secretary, they began drinking "reasonable-sized mugs of beer" at a pub, says Newcombe: "I noticed that George [W] was sort of eying me off. I put on a bit of pace and he'd keep pace with me. A little silent game was going on."

After about four beers, Newcombe grabbed a mug with his teeth and drank it hands-free as a challenge; Bush followed suit. Then Newcombe drank from the mug's wrong side: "I looked at him and go, 'Have you got any guts, George, or what's your story?' So he did that." Afterward, Bush turned down an offer from Newcombe's wife to drive, and sure enough, an officer pulled them over with Bush behind the wheel. Roussel kindly informed the cop just who was getting the $150 ticket. "And the cop, his name was Calvin, goes, 'Oh my God, I've just booked the son of the director of the CIA, I'm in real trouble,'" says Newcombe, the Telegraph reports. "We'd joke for years that Calvin's going to come back to haunt you." Bush later said he quit alcohol after a weekend of drinking for his 40th birthday, and attributed the change to a religious awakening. (More George W. Bush stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.