Even Presidents Deserve Privacy on the Links

I don’t envy President Obama. Not just because of the crushing responsibilities he shoulders as commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful nation. Not just because of the scrutiny and sheer nastiness he must endure as the nation’s first black president. Not just because of the frustration to which he is relentlessly subjected by mean spirited Republicans in Congress.

What prompts my pity (yes, pity!) this morning is the fact that he played golf with Tiger yesterday.

Yes, that Tiger – as in Tiger Woods.

I don’t consider myself a self-conscious type. At the age of 17 I addressed a crowd of thousands in the Albert Hall, and didn’t bat an eye. But there’s no way I would be able to swing a golf club under the watchful gaze of perhaps the greatest golfer ever. I would be frozen solid.

It was scary enough for the left-handed Obama (photo above, right) to have Butch Harmon give him a lesson, but to let Tiger see his swing? Now, that’s what I call raw courage.

The press corps is miffed because reporters weren’t allowed to watch the historic round. On behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, Ed Henry complained about the president’s “lack of transparency.” But what can you expect? Henry is a Fox News contributor. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox News features a story about Obama’s “massive cover-up” on the golf course.

But I bet the reporters who play golf understand why the president would want to keep his round under wraps. That’s classified information.

President Eisenhower (above, left) had the same problem with the press.  They kept asking him what he shot. But he didn’t give in to demands for “transparency” then, either.

He is even quoted as saying:

If I don’t improve, I’m going to pass a law that no one can ask me my golf score.

When Golf Digest produced a campaign-style button with the words, “Don’t Ask What I Shot,” Ike played along with the joke and was pictured wearing  one of the buttons.

Ike’s love of golf was legendary. He palled around with the likes of Arnold Palmer, and there’s a pond named after him at Augusta National.

The way Ike saw it, golf helped him relax and recharge his batteries so he could do a better job as president. He is quoted as saying:

Golf . . . . offers healthy respite from daily toil, refreshment of body and mind.

And I can say amen to that; I’ve weathered many a rough spot in my life by taking to the golf course.

President Eisenhower is said to have played 800 rounds of golf during his two terms. Golf Digest estimates he spent more than 1,000 days of his presidency involved in golf-related activities.

And the American people loved him for it. He was credited with doubling participation in the sport, and was elected to the Golf Hall of Fame in appreciation.

Can you imagine the uproar if President Obama spent that much time on the course? He has played only 100 rounds so far, and already Republicans are criticizing him for it.

I guess, as far as they’re concerned, it’s different strokes for different presidents.

Click here for the story about Obama and Tiger.

Click here to read about Ike’s love of golf.

5 thoughts on “Even Presidents Deserve Privacy on the Links

  1. A great blog George, Faye and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Two of our favorite people, regardless of Tiger’s human frailties. What transparencies are Fox News wanting on the golf course? How many times did the President go to the bathroom, perhaps?? Billy G.

  2. Perhaps I should’ve said Obama is America’s first openly black president. According to some historians, not only Dwight Eisenhower but also Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge had black ancestors.

  3. I love Ike! President Eisenhower was a lovely, gentle, sweetheart of a man. There is no way we could compare Ike to the bitter, nasty Republicans of today. And I agree with him about golf. I credit golf with keeping George hale and hearty. Even with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, eye problems (glaucoma), and arthritis, he thrives. I do wish, though, that President Obama and Tiger had allowed at least one photographer/reporter to follow them around and get some pictures. It would be fun to get to see their golf game recorded. Maybe someone did get a shot or two and we will see them one day.

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