Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BETHESDA, Md. — Phil Mickelson, Fred Funk, Justin Leonard and Davis Love III were among the roster of players at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club who watched fireworks from the White House balcony Wednesday night. They were also on hand to celebrate President George W. Bush's upcoming 61st birthday.

The invitation came from First Lady Laura Bush and went out to a short list of players, many of whom had met either the 43rd president or the 42nd president through their experience playing for the U.S. Presidents Cup team. Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy are friends with George H.W. Bush, who hit the ceremonial first ball at Congressional on Wednesday.

Jeff Maggert, Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon also attended. President George W. Bush doesn't turn 61 until Friday.

"The Bushes have always been very, very good to our family," Love said as he stood outside the locker room after play was called due to an incoming storm on Wednesday. "We've been very lucky."

Funk said he was excited about the visit but also perplexed. His caddie, Mark Long, said: "Fred calls me and goes, 'What the hell do you get the President for his birthday?'"

Funk has a connection to politics through his father-in-law, Bill Archer of Texas, a member of the House of Representatives. Funk ended up having his equipment maker, Taylor Made, design a Tour bag with the Presidential seal, the President's name and "43" on the side.

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