JERSEY CITY, N.J. – While they remain staunch opponents, captains Nick Price and Steve Stricker were able to reach some common ground Thursday when describing the impact of having three former U.S. presidents on hand for the start of the 12th edition of the Presidents Cup.
Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all convened on a perch just right of the first tee at Liberty National, where they took in the opening ceremonies and jittery first tee shots during the first foursomes session.
Price described the environment as “phenomenal,” even though he fully realized his uniform colors set him opposite the three former chief executives.
“They all said the same thing. ‘Guys, we can’t pull for you, but we want you to have a good match.’ They were great,” Price said. “Of course you’re not going to pull for us. You guys are Americans. You’re presidents. But they are golfers and they are great sportsmen, too.”
Stricker explained that Clinton and Bush gave “moving” speeches to both teams during a gala Wednesday night at the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, touching upon topics ranging from 9/11 to the potential for this week’s event to “bring people together” during a time of significant social and political division.
“They are so good at what they do. You can see the position that they are in, and see why they were there in that position,” Stricker said. “Truly a treat for us to meet them and have them there on the first tee.”