Obama playing lots of golf with basketball stars while on vacation

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2016, 1:49 pm

CHILMARK, Mass. – When President Barack Obama goes on vacation, he plays a lot of golf. And when he plays, he likes to hang out with big-name basketball players.

Five days into his family vacation on Martha's Vineyard, the president has spent four of them hitting the links. While the president rarely plays basketball anymore, he could put together a pretty strong pickup team with his golf partners if he were so inclined.

In his first outing, Obama joined up with Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. In the second round, it was Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, and in his third and fourth rounds, Obama's foursome included former all-stars Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen. The latter two were playing partners during last year's vacation as well.

The round with Curry makes good on Obama's promise of a rematch when the Warriors visited the White House in February to be honored for winning the 2015 NBA championship.



''I heard during this summer, after our golf game, that Steph was using the excuse of Secret Service being intimidating for why he lost the match,'' Obama said at the time. ''That is not the case. But he will have another opportunity.''

When Obama plays golf, a handful of reporters, a camera team and photographers – known as the pool – are nearby, usually kept far enough away so the president doesn't see them, and vice versa. But the press was allowed to watch Obama on the first hole on the first day.

A skunk livened things up when it waddled by the press van on the second day of golf. No damage was done before it wandered over to an area where the Secret Service was checking cars for bombs before their drivers were allowed to enter the course's parking lot.

Many weekends in Washington, Obama also plays golf, but generally on just one of the days.

On Martha's Vineyard, Obama also has gone out twice for dinner. In the town of Oak Bluffs, he dined Sunday evening at Down Island, a new, trendy restaurant that has a $59 prix fixe menu.

Executive chef Scott Cummings told the Cape Cod Times the president shook hands with staff and posed for photos. The menu included island-caught striped bass, roasted carrots, octopus and chocolate pate. Obama tried all the dishes that were brought to him, Cummings said.

Hundreds lined the street hoping for a glimpse of the president and first lady, cheering enthusiastically as their motorcade sped away to drop them off on the other side of the island. It's friendly country for Democrats, though a couple of Trump supporters watched the motorcade Thursday behind a ''Trump'' sign.

The Clintons also frequented the vineyard during Bill Clinton's two terms, and the motorcade passed a permanent sign reading ''Hoo-rah for Bill.'' The sign was erected by the late Craig Kingsbury, an eccentric local who was the inspiration for Quint in the movie ''Jaws.'' Much of the movie was filmed on the island.

For their second dinner out, the Obamas headed back Tuesday to State Road restaurant in West Tisbury, which has become a yearly stop for them. Lobster salad, local greens, striped bass, monkfish, duck breast and cheeseburgers were on the menu.

The Obama's have vacationed every year but one on Martha's Vineyard. They generally keep a low profile, and indeed there were few people on the street in West Tisbury when they left the restaurant around 10:30 p.m.

On the day Obama didn't play golf, he and the first family went to a private beach. The White House said Thursday he and daughter Malia also went for a walk in the morning on a trail near the house the Obamas are renting. The White House doesn't disclose exactly where he is staying, but he's in the same neighborhood of a home the Obamas stayed at in 2014 and 2015. One of the local papers, the Martha's Vineyard Times, describes the home as containing seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, expansive views of Vineyard Sound, a swimming pool, a hot tub and a dual tennis-basketball court.

Obama has added a new event to this year's itinerary, a fundraiser Monday for the Democratic National Committee. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton will be on the island as well on August 20. Her campaign website stated that she'll be in Edgartown at the home of Carol and Frank Biondi, a former CEO for Viacom and Universal Studios. It's unclear for now whether the two politicians will spend any time together.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.