Feb 19, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Tiger on playing with President Obama: “He’s just a wonderful person to be around. And we won.”
— SI Golf Group (@si_golf) February 19, 2013
Excerpted from Briefing Room: Tiger Woods said Tuesday that his weekend golf outing with President Obama was “pretty cool” and that he and the president teamed up for a win against a pairing of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.
“He’s just a wonderful person to be around. And we won,” Woods said at a press conference ahead of the Match Play Championship, according to Sports Illustrated.
Woods also joked that Obama was “an avid golfer, and so am I.”
The comments by the 14-time major tournament champion were the first window into the President’s Day weekend golf trip in Florida. Reporters were not allowed on to the golf course during the game, drawing complaints from the White House press corps.
“Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend,” White House Correspondents Association president and Fox News reporter Ed Henry said in a statement. “There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency.”
Press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that he was “completely sympathetic” to complaints from reporters, having covered the White House himself for Time magazine.
“I would note that, you know, and this is important to note given some of the coverage of this issue, that when it comes to solo news conferences, where the president of the United States stands up, and for 40 minutes, 50 minutes, or an hour, takes your questions, allowing reporters to go deep on issues, President Obama has given 35 of those. President Bush, his immediate predecessor gave 19,” Carney said. “When it comes to interviews, the president’s given 591 interviews since he took office. So, I think, that it is clear that we are making an effort to provide access, to make sure that the president is being questioned by reporters and anchors and others. And we’ll continue to do that.”
Asked specifically about complaints lodged over his game with Woods this weekend, Carney argued the press office had provided enough access.
“I mean, the president had some downtime, he was playing golf,” Carney said. “You know, I understand that there was a desire to have access or a photograph of that, but the president was having [a vacation].”