Saturday, June 18, 2011

President Obama, Speaker Boehner Team Up To Win POTUS Invitational

"A great time"...Bipartisan betting & post-game drinks as President & Speaker trump Vice President & Gov. Kasich on 18th hole at Joint Base Andrews East Course...
The much-anticipated POTUS Pro-Am Golf Summit, held this morning on the East Course at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, ended with President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) teaming up to beat Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio. The winners triumphed on the 18th hole, and each walked away with $2 from a low-ball bet, though ostensibly trillions of dollars in federal budgeting was being discussed on the links--and perhaps after, during a post-game drink in the clubhouse. (Above: President Obama lines up a putt as Bohener looks on)

The White House issued a statement about the action, with approval from the Speaker's office:

"The foursome had a great time and really enjoyed playing golf at Joint Base Andrews today. The President and Speaker Boehner teamed up to beat the Vice President and Governor Kasich. The match was won on the 18th hole - the President and the Speaker won $2 each.

After finishing their round, the President, Speaker Boehner, the Vice President and Governor Kasich went to the patio of the clubhouse where they enjoyed a cold drink, some of the U.S. Open coverage and visited with service members."

Beer was involved, according to the White House, above. The game started after 9:40 AM, and ended a few minutes after 2:00 PM, with the clubhouse fun ending at 2:36 PM. (Above: The White House released a photo of the action in the clubhouse)

President Obama arrived at 9:26 AM at Andrews, where Biden was already warming up. Boehner is considered one of the top golfers among politicos, though Biden has the best ranking in the foursome, according to Golf Digest. The Vice-President has a handicap of six, which ranks him 29th on the magazine's list of Top 150 Washington Golfers. Golf Digest estimates the President as a 17-handicapper, with Boehner between a 6 and 7 handicap. Kasich wasn't on the list.

The East Course is well designed: From the white tees, appropriate for mens' amateurs, it is 6,431 yards long with a course rating of 70.2. Par for the course is 72. (Above: The President and Boehner watch Kasich in action on the first green)

The game was "meant to be an opportunity for the Speaker and the President, as well as the Vice President and Ohio Governor to have a conversation, to socialize in a way that so rarely happens in Washington," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Friday.

Carney tried to tamp down expectations that the game would lead to a deal on the debt ceiling.

"I would expect they will talk about some of the very important issues that have to be dealt with by this administration and this Congress," Carney said, adding he didn't expect that President Obama and Boehner will "wrap up the 18th hole and come out and say that we have a [budget] deal."

They didn't. Although aides said that the budget was discussed.

The action...
Reporters were allowed to observe for the first green, where Gov. Kasich, wearing long pants and an Ohio State University shirt, missed a 30-foot putt but tapped in for par. Next up, Biden jumped out to the early lead by sinking a 15-foot putt for birdie.

"You got that?" a beaming President Obama yelled to the assembled press after Biden's shot.

The Golfer in Chief putted next. Wearing long pants and a white polo, he crouched down to line up his shot before just missing a 12-footer. He tapped in for par.

The Speaker, who apparently hit a nice approach shot, putted last, hitting a short putt for par.

After holing out, the foursome walked back to their carts with the President patting Boehner on the back. They rode together, while Biden and Kasich drove in the other cart.

The pooler on duty, Sam Youngman of The Hill, watched from about 100 feet away, but added in color notes:

"Bipartisanship is everywhere. WH trip director Marvin Nicholson was seen riding in a cart with Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck."

"Also, thinking about POTUS's short putt. Either no "gimme" was offered or it was not accepted. Normally when the ball is less than a foot from the hole, a player's opponents will concede the putt, letting the putter pick up his ball because the putt is a "gimme." POTUS reportedly does not engage in that practice."

The President's motorcade arrived back at the White House at 2:58 PM. No word on what he is doing with his $2.

*Updated, 4:00 PM

*Top photo by Samantha Appleton/White House; second by Pete Souza/White House; third by Mandel Ngana/AFP/Getty; fourth by Reuters