The Pope met with his cardinals to discuss a proposal from the prime minister of Israel.
"Your Holiness," said one of the Cardinals, "The Israeli prime minister wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths."
The Pope thought it was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his life. "Have we not," he asked, "a cardinal who can represent me against the leader of Israel?"
"None that plays golf very well," a cardinal replied. "But ..." he said, deep in thought, "what if we offered to make Jack Nicklaus a cardinal? We can offer to make him a cardinal, then ask him to play the Israeli prime minister as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of cooperation, we'll also win the match."
Everyone agreed it was a good idea. The call was made. Nicklaus was greatly honored and agreed to play.
The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result.
"I have some good news and some bad news, Your Holiness," said Nicklaus.
"Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus," said the Pope.
"Well, Your Holiness, I don't like to brag, but even though I've played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous."
"There's bad news?" the Pope asked.
Nicklaus sighed. "Rabbi Woods beat me by two strokes."