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Robert Mueller's cap sporting The Sea Ranch logo sparks questions

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Now that Robert Mueller has released the findings of his team’s investigation into Russian meddling, attention turns to the special counsel’s cap.

Mueller has been photographed sporting an embroidered, billed cap from The Sea Ranch, the rustic-yet-refined, just-remote-enough seaside resort community on the northern Sonoma Coast.

The photos have most of the nation wondering, what the heck is The Sea Ranch? Those of us familiar with the storied and controversial development and its distinctive rams-horn logo are keen to know Mueller’s connection to it.

Rumors that the ex-FBI director owns or seeks to own a home on The Sea Ranch couldn’t be confirmed Monday.

But Mueller has played golf there.

Golfer and retired journalist Thayer Walker of Gualala, the Mendocino Coast hamlet just north of The Sea Ranch, shares this story:

About a decade ago, when Mueller was still directing the FBI, word spread that he and his wife, Ann Cabell Standish, were enjoying a retreat to the Sea Ranch Golf Links.

Right about then, Walker and buddy Jim Garrett treated themselves to a round. Walker said the two of them arrived at the course to see the Muellers tee off.

Walker recounts that before he and his friend could tee off behind the Muellers, “two guys in a cart jumped in front of us on the course and sped off in pursuit of the couple.”

A couple of holes later, Walker and Garrett pulled up close enough to the two men to see that they had golf bags on their cart but weren’t playing. As it dawned on them that the guys were FBI bodyguards and the long items in their bags weren’t clubs but rifles, one of the men turned to them.

“You guys stay back at least a hole!” he ordered. Walker and Garrett gladly backed off.

It seems likely that Mueller discovered The Sea Ranch and its 45-year-old golf links decades ago. Though he was born in Manhattan and has been mostly an East Coaster, Mueller began his law career in San Francisco in 1973 with the firm Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro.

In ‘76, he launched a six-year stint with the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco. He then returned East. He served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston, and following a stint in private practice settled in D.C. and became an assistant to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, then acting Attorney General, then Assistant Attorney General.

Mueller returned to San Francisco in 1998 at U.S. Attorney for northern district of California, a post he held until 2001, the year President George W. Bush selected him to run the FBI.

Gualala writer and golfer Walker seems certain that Mueller has spent many Augusts vacationing at The Sea Ranch. One imagines that just now the special counsel is ripe for a bit of golf and R&R.

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