We know that Barack Obama’s first sport was “soccer” – because he told Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey of the World Cup team so, when he rang them to say congratulations.
And we know that his great sporting passion has been basketball.
But the sport that sucks up most of his time? Golf, golf, golf.
And he might be playing a bit too much, worries the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
In a sequence made famous by Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, George Bush was filmed in 2002 intoning “I call on all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorists,” before readying his club: “Now watch this drive.”
Bush gave up golf after the Iraq invasion, alert to the way it looked, and Obama might consider doing the same, says Milbank, pointing, for example to June 14, when “Sunni rebels threatened Baghdad” while “Obama fearlessly played a round at the Sunnylands Golf Course in California”.
The game can be used “as a driver of diplomacy”, notes Milbank, pointing to Obama’s game with John Key, but the pursuit just plays into the hands of political opponents, who have keenly noted his hours lost to the course. It “needlessly hands his critics a gimme”, says Milbank.
“It’s enough to make you wish the president would take up a different pastime – like, say, stamp collecting.”