Photo: AP Images
President Barack Obama played golf with Tiger Woods in Florida on Sunday, but the high-profile game went completely unseen — and unphotographed — by reporters in the White House press pool.News of the Obama-Woods golf round was first reported by Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte, who tweeted about the game from the pro shop of The Floridian, the exclusive Palm City golf resort where the President spent the holiday weekend.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the report Sunday afternoon, and said Woods and Obama were joined by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.
White House reporters, who have been denied access to the President during his trip to Florida, revolted after learning of Woods’ surprise appearance, and demanded that they be taken to The Floridian to scoop out the game.
Per the White House pool report:
We got confirmation at 1:45 PM that POTUS had been hitting the links with Tiger Woods inside the “Floridian” golf compound, 20 minutes away from the pool hotel. Your pool has been aware since this morning that a reporter, Tim Rosaforte, had been tweeting and talking on the Golf Channel about the POTUS/Woods game from inside the compound. Still officially under a lid, we decided to assemble and at 2:10 PM we logged a request to the White House for access to the President’s game for a photo-op, like this administration and previous ones have granted in the past. We were told that we were free to travel to the Floridian but wouldn’t get access to POTUS. After some back and forth, our handlers finally arrived at 4:17 PM and our bus was on the move quickly afterwards. We reached the Floridian’s gates at 4:37. We’re holding outside the compound and we’re told that the President is not moving out of the Floridian and that the lid is still in place.
Two hours later, the press pool returned to the hotel empty-handed.
White House Correspondents Association President Ed Henry, of Fox News, later issued a statement expressing the group’s “extreme frustration” with the lack of access to the President.
“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,” Henry said. “There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency.”
The White House responded with its own statement of defence:
“The press access granted by the White House today is entirely consistent with the press access offered for previous presidential golf outings. It’s also consistent with the press access promised to the White House Press Corps prior to arrival in Florida on Friday evening.”
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