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Obama, Clinton, and I Play Golf

by James Joyner on 6 August 2009

While he’s not my cup of tea politically or as a fashion plate (mom jeans, indeed) it’s hard not to admire Barack Obama’s demeanor. Taegan Goddard points to a story on the way the man approaches golf, a sport that also serves as a four-letter word.

In this handout from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden putt on the White House putting green April 24, 2009. in Washington, DC. Pete Souza / White HousePresident Obama, “who took up golf in his mid-30s as a relaxing alternative to basketball, did not find much time to play during the campaign,” Time reports. “But now that his game is out of the closet, it is clear that he duffs in much the same way that he tries to govern.”

“Whereas Clinton was known to shout, curse and rehit balls until he liked his shot, Obama never cuts a corner in golf, say his companions. No mulligans. No five-foot gimme putts on the green.”

Said White House aide Marvin Nicholson: “I’ve never seen him get to the point where he just picks up. I’ve seen him write a 10 down. I’ve seen him write an 11 down.”

I also took up golf in my mid-30s and took the same approach to the game’s rules as Obama with a bit of Clinton’s cursing thrown in.  It was not, to say the least, relaxing for me or my playing partners.

After a hiatus of a few years, I’m taking the game up again.  This time, with lessons and a more calm demeanor.

About James Joyner

James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway and the managing editor of a DC think tank. He's a former Army officer, Desert Storm vet, and college professor. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama.

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