Obama gets golf tips at start of guys’ weekend in Florida

February 16, 2013

PALM CITY, Fla. -- President Obama got some tips Saturday from Tiger Woods's former swing coach during the first day of a guys' weekend golf outing here on Florida's Atlantic coast, which included three men who have contributed to his past political campaigns.

President Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 15, 2013. Obama is spending the weekend in Florida. (Saul Loeb -- AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 15, 2013. Obama is spending the weekend in Florida. (Saul Loeb -- AFP/Getty Images)

Obama is staying and playing at the Floridian National Golf Club, a private, gated compound owned by Houston businessman Jim Crane. Crane also owns the Houston Astros, and last March he hosted a fundraiser for the president inside an upscale annex of Minute Maid Park where the Astros play their home games. Crane was part of Saturday's group.

Crane was named the best CEO golfer in America by Golf Digest back in 2006. He currently holds a 2 handicap at a host of courses that he's a member of, including the Floridian.

In addition, Tony Chase, a Houston lawyer who hosted a fundraising dinner for Obama that same March evening last year, also played with the president on Saturday. Chase and Obama are longtime friends, as well as fellow graduates of Harvard Law School.

The events Chase and Crane hosted that evening raised more than $2.5 million for Obama's reelection campaign.

Also in the Saturday group was Milton Carroll, another Houston businessman who is chairman of CenterPoint Energy, a public-utility holding company. Carroll, too, has given to Obama's presidential campaigns, though not on the same scale.

Rounding out the group were Eric Whitaker, a Chicago doctor who is one of Obama's oldest and closest friends, and departing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Butch Harmon, Woods's swing coach for more than a decade during some of his early glory years, joined the group for several holes and provided tips - not that it was clear any of them needed it. Woods and Harmon parted ways in 2004 on not the best of terms.

Scott Wilson is the chief White House correspondent for the Washington Post. Previously, he was the paper’s deputy Assistant Managing Editor/Foreign News after serving as a correspondent in Latin America and in the Middle East.
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