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Bush kicks off golf tournament

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 7:48 p.m.
Golf pro Lee Trevino spends time with former president George W. Bush before the Bush Center Warrior Open golf pro-am tournament for wounded veterans at the Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo)

IRVING, Texas — Former President George W. Bush says he's feeling “pretty good” since undergoing a heart procedure last month and able to go mountain biking and play golf.

“I'm a little more risk averse on the mountain bike, but I'm exercising,” Bush told The Associated Press on Friday after kicking off the competitive portion of his golf tournament for wounded military members.

“It's really important to stay fit and not vegetate,” he said.

This is the third year that the George W. Bush Presidential Center has hosted the Warrior Open for military members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty-four military members, many with prosthetic legs, were participating in the two-day tournament in the Dallas suburb of Irving. Participants include active and retired members of the military.

“I'm inspired every year to be in the midst of people who suffered significant injury and refuse to quit,” Bush said as the participants teed off.

“Golf is an unbelievably challenging sport and it's especially challenging, for example, if you are trying to drive with one leg — and yet they've overcome their difficulties and are really good golfers. The talent out here is pretty amazing,” he said.

Bush had a procedure on Aug. 6 to have a stent inserted when a blockage was discovered in an artery during his annual physical. The 67-year-old, who lives in Dallas, is known as a fitness buff. While in the White House he ran about three miles four days a week, and cross-trained with swimming, free weights and an elliptical trainer. When doctors found his knees were getting damaged, he turned to mountain biking.

Bush said he is fortunate that the blockage was found, and is pragmatic about his recovery.

“I feel pretty good. I've learned that aging can be difficult if you let it be difficult,” he said.

This year, the Warrior Open included an additional day of play on Thursday with its first Pro-Am, which featured professional golfers teaming up with the warriors.

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