NYTimes Sings Praises of Obama’s Golf Game


While we seem to know every little detail about President Obama, one thing we know next to nothing about is his golf game.

But with reporters wandering around Honolulu with nothing to do as they “cover” the president’s 17-day vacation, one enterprising young scribe took it upon himself to investigate The First Golfer.

“HONOLULU — President Obama’s drives were consistently short. It often took him one shot too many to get his ball on the green. And when he finally took out his putter, he struggled with his touch,” wrote New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt. ” ‘He got around the golf course the way my uncle used to,’ said one golfer, describing the round that he played with the president a few years ago. ‘He didn’t have a picture-perfect swing.’ “

The president has spent about 1,000 hours playing some 215 rounds since he was elected in 2008, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS correspondent who has kept track of the president’s schedule, the Times reports. But he has never released a single score, never played with someone who went on to talk to the press. So the bored Times reporter tracked down a few who had played with the president. 

Although Mr. [Bill] Clinton routinely gave himself ‘presidential pardons’ for mulligans and gimmes, Mr. Obama is known as a stickler for the rules, the golfers who have played with him said.

Mr. Obama counts all of his strokes and does not like to talk about politics. He has played for money. And, no, he does not make the Secret Service look for his errant shots. (‘They are pretty far back,’ one player said. ‘They give him his space.’)

For much of his presidency, Mr. Obama routinely shot in the 90s and low 100s — respectable scores for an occasional golfer but not particularly good for someone who played as often as he did, golf professionals said.

Short video clips posted online by people who happened to catch him on a course earlier in his presidency show that he had bad posture when he stood over the ball and did not always keep his head down during his swing, golf pros said.

The article quotes NBA legend Michael Jordan’s profane assessment of the president’s game, but then says, “clues have seeped out in recent months that Mr. Obama consistently scores in the 80s now.

In an interview with Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times in August, Mr. Obama crowed that he had just had the lowest round of his life.

‘Had an 80 last week,’ Mr. Obama said, adding that he had a ’15-foot putt for 79. I was feeling pretty good. I missed it by about that much.’

Last week, the president said in a telephone conversation with a military couple — forced to move their wedding from the 16th hole of a local course because Mr. Obama was playing there — that he had shot a 12-over-par 84.

‘If they had just mentioned that they were going to have a wedding on the 16th hole, we would have skipped the 16th hole,’ said Mr. Obama, who apparently parred the 16th, a par-5 hole, that day.

‘If I had skipped the 16th hole, I would have shot a 79,’ he said.

Well, that’s not exactly how it works, Mr. President. 

In the end, the Times used the piece to once again praise the president, quoting a former golfing partner.

‘If you came down from Mars and saw his disposition on the golf course, you would think he would be a pretty good president,’ the golfer said. ‘He’s honest, he keeps his composure through terrible adversity, he’s unruffled, he smiles, and he doesn’t quit.’


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