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Ron Hart Columns: Tiger, Obama and media golf bias

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Tiger, Obama and media golf bias

December 8, 2009 - Orange County Register

By Ron Hart

Barack Obama has already played 25 rounds of golf as president, more than George W. Bush played in his two terms, and arguably more than Tiger Woods will play in the coming weeks.

Obama's golf outings have been praised by the media, including a Washington Post headline, "Just the Sport for A Leader Most Driven." The piece went on to say, "Obama's frequent outings reflect a cool self-confidence," but stopped just short of calling Obama "simply awesome" for playing golf.

Always the Obama cheerleaders and impresarios of the inconsequential, the mainstream media lost all credibility years ago. Now they are just funny.

On the campaign trail they asked Obama softball questions in hopes of guiding our appreciation of him. We learned revealing information such as the all-important historic figure he would most lik

This is a June 15, 2008, file photo showing Tiger Woods reacting after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green forcing a playoff against Rocco Mediate during the fourth round of the US Open championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.
Associated Press file photo
e to have dinner with and why, his favorite book, meal and movie, and the ice cream flavor he ordered on his first date with Michelle. Time magazine asked a harder question: What was his favorite season, and why? The "why" made many anchors cringe, but the reporter felt he had to ask the tough questions.

The same publication headlined a story about President Bush's golfing: "Before Golf, Bush Decries Latest Deaths in Mideast." The piece went on to say, "However incongruous the setting, the president plunged ahead."

Up to this point, Obama shared more friendships in common with Osama bin Laden (both had close friends who tried to blow up the Pentagon) than with American golfers. I bet Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger and Harry Reid do not play golf. Reid would never be in a foursome, since it takes three or more witnesses to prove a conspiracy.

A recent Wall Street Journal column wondered why Obama has forsaken basketball, a game he is good at, for one he is not. A North Carolina sportswriter did his best to put it in language Obama could understand: "Mr. President, basketball? Yes, you can. Golf? No, you can't."

The most troubling thing about Obama's golf game is that he plays slowly. Some of his toadies might say, "Take your time, Mr. President; pretend you are choosing a dog or deciding what to do in Afghanistan." In fairness to Obama, it takes time to tote his teleprompter around the golf course so he can perfectly quote lines from "Caddyshack" on cue.

All politicians who played golf had their quirks. That is what makes the game so revealing of one's character. Bill Clinton, aside from having many of the same off-course traits as Tiger, was known for getting confused by the scoring. He would shoot a 6, yell "fore" and write down a 5 on his scorecard. JFK was famously clandestine about his fine golf game and was said to have been a graceful player. Conversely, his brother Teddy had trouble driving over water.

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Columns by Ronald Hart. Ron grew up in Tennessee and began writing a column for his hometown paper in 2002. He attended The University of Memphis and the Institute for Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University. Ron graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected student government president. Upon getting his MBA, he went to work for Goldman Sachs. He was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents by then Governor Lamar Alexander and is now a private investor. He appears on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal. His columns reflect a rare combination of Southern libertarian views and humor. They have been described as "Lewis Grizzard meets P.J. O'Rourke with a dash of Will Roger's horse sense". His columns are carried by 30 newspapers with a total weekly circulation of approximately 1 million readers.