An audit by the Government Accountability Office that was reported in the US on Thursday revealed that a 2013 golf trip taken by President Obama to play with Tiger Woods in Florida cost taxpayers $3.6m.
Obama, who has unsurprisingly taken some flak for being a golfing president (he played his 300th round in August), flew to the Floridian Yacht and Golf Club and received instruction from Butch Harmon, Woods’ former coach.
“The audit said the costs included operation of Air Force One, at about $200,000 per hour of flight, plus a virtual squadron of ‘supporting aircraft and U.S. Coast Guard small boats’, as well as per diem and other travel expenses for an unspecified number of Pentagon and Homeland Security personnel required to support the president’s golf weekend,” the Washington Times reported.
“In all, (President Obama’s) four-day excursion required six additional military transport planes flying eight missions with at least 22 total flight legs, involving 14 commercial airports and Air Force bases ranging from Joint Base McGuire in New Jersey to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.”
The audit was ordered by Republican senator John Barrasso, who blasted President Obama’s lavish trip which came at a time when his administration was imposing automatic spending caps.
“At a time when the government was tightening its belt to prepare for sequestration, President Obama had such little disregard for the taxpayer that he spent millions of dollars to play golf with Tiger Woods,” Mr. Barrasso said. “This arrogance is par for the course for the Obama administration.”
After the round, Woods delivered a “State of the Game’” on the president’s golfing prowess and the news wasn’t all bad.
“If he ever spent — after these four years — spent more time playing the game of golf, I’m sure he could get to where he’s a pretty good stick,’’ Woods said.
It was the second time Woods had played with a sitting US president — he once played with former President Bill Clinton at The Alotian Club in Arkansas.
“Playing with Mr. President was pretty cool,” he said. “He’s just a wonderful person to be around.”
Woods doesn’t use “Mr.” with hardly anyone. In fact, he has a nickname for most people in golf. He’ll shorten the surname (“Poults” for Ian Poulter, “Stricks’’ for Steve Stricker) or simply add a “y” to their name (“Rosey” for Justin Rose). And what name did he use for the leader of the free world? “Partner,” Woods said with a smile.
He sounded surprised to learn that Obama played left-handed, and when asked to describe the president’s best shot, Woods said that “he hit a few”.
“He’s a pretty good athlete, and we all know he played a lot of hoops,” Woods said. “He’s a lefty, but to see him out there hitting shots … he hit it well, and we didn’t play under the easiest conditions. It was blowing harder than this, and it was a little bit cooler than this. So we played under some tough conditions, and as I said, he hit the ball well. He’s got amazing touch. He can certainly chip and putt.”
This article originally appeared on news.com.au
— with AP