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The Clown Prince of Golf

When golf nut David Larible (a.k.a. the World's Greatest Circus Clown) hits the links, the funny business is over--sort of

What do golf and clowns have in common? Funny shoes and David Larible, who as the Prince of Laughter is the headline performer in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. He's the only clown in the troupe's 134-year history to be the star attraction and the only clown from any circus to win the Golden Clown, the world's most prestigious award for circus performers. Whenever Larible, 47, gets a break from the serious world of clowning, he heads for the course. "Golf is the perfect release for the stress of circus life," says Larible. His goal: win the annual Ringling Ryder Cup. "I try to make my opponents laugh so they play poorly," he says.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

PLAYING FOR PEANUTS

On the road, Larible plays with whomever and whenever he can.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

JUMP SHOT

A fellow circus member introduced Larible to the sport in 1981.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

ACT IV

Daughter Shirley (left), son David and wife America also perform.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

HARD LINE

Larible even works a gravity-defying display of putting into his routine on the high wire.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

BEACH OUTING

A 22 handicap, Larible gets in about 80 rounds a year.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

TRICK SHOT

A clown comes across obstacles other golfers don't usually see.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

SKILL SET

The ultratalented Larible speaks five languages and plays seven instruments.

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

TOUGH GAME

"I can ruin the show," Larible says. "There's nothing sadder than an unfunny clown."

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Photographs by Heinz Kluetmeier

HOME TRACK

Most of the year the Laribles live in a four-bedroom train car.