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PGA Tour Confidential: Tiger Woods, Barack Obama play golf, John Merrick wins Riviera

Tiger Woods, Barack Obama
AP
Tiger Woods and Barack Obama played a round together at the Floridian, a secluded and exclusive yacht and golf club on Florida's Treasure Coast.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

OBAMA AND TIGER TEE OFF
John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: Welcome, teammates. I was planning a ho-hum session devoted to the winner of the Northern Trust Open, but the week went rogue on me. Let's start with President Obama's fantasy-golf weekend at the Floridian, which featured a playing lesson from Butch Harmon and a round with Tiger Woods. First, give me your take on the Prez's bachelor weekend. Second, pretend you're the Leader of the Free World. What combination of course, coach and golf partner would you choose for your dream outing?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It's great that the Prez is such a golf junkie. As Bamberger has pointed out, the more he plays, the better it is for all of us who love the game. For my presidential weekend, I'd probably pick Butch, too. If nothing else he's an amazing storyteller. And my playing partners would Jack, Arnie and Tiger. With Blair O'Neal as first alternate.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Obama has played more as the First Golfer than I have as a working golf typist. I'm jealous. Course? National Golf Links of America. Coach? Bill Harmon, for spiritual insights. Partner? Does it have to be a living person in this fantasy? I'll say it does not, in which case I'm going for Spiro Agnew, Frank Sinatra, along with John Garrity.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It's funny how President Bush was compelled to give up golf as long as our fighting soldiers were serving in the Middle East, but it's been okay for Obama to go for the most-rounds-by-a-President-in-office and not a word of complaint. He went to the right guy for help in Butch. Wonder if Tiger voted for Obama? If I'm President, I'm going to Coyote Springs (near Mesquite, Nev.) because it's isolated and unique, and I'm playing with Rocco Mediate, who's going to tell me more stories than I can remember.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Good for O. Everybody needs a getaway weekend. After a short-game tune-up with Dave Stockton I'd go to Augusta National with Arnie for a trip around the par-3 and then the big course.

Eamon Lynch, managing editor, Golf.com One can argue that the President deserved that Nobel Peace Prize if Tiger and Butch announce a reconciliation tomorrow. But that's about as likely as me running the world. In the event I do grab control I'll keep my existing Swing Whisperer (Mike Adams at the Medalist Golf Club and Hamilton Farm), and opt for Cypress Point with a childhood friend.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I hope the President Obama-Woods game will help them both, but for selfish reasons I'd love it if Obama could mentor Woods a bit. I think Tiger has been missing that in his life. If I were leader of the free world, I'd play Pebble with Sean Foley and Andres Gonzales 'cause it sure wouldn't be boring.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Great to see Obama get out and enjoy a good old-fashioned guys weekend, and the fact that he played a round with Tiger tells you all you need to know about how far Woods's image has progressed. As for my presidential round, I'll play Augusta National with my old high school golf coach, Al Johansen, and to complete the group, we'll play with the tiny green alien that only I, as president, and a handful of other people know exist. I wouldn't want to finish last in my group, and I'm guessing Marvin the Martian has no game.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: It's fodder for his critics. It's one thing to get away from the pressure of the job with 18, but getting lux lessons and goofing off with TW while Rome burns doesn't look good. Especially while noted Twitter hater Charlie Beljan was almost winning in L.A. As for part two, what's the standard reply-Augusta, Claude Harmon and Bobby Jones?

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: I think it's great that President Obama played with Tiger, but he was smart to wait until after the election. Obama picked the right player and teacher, but I'd be at the Old Course.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: I like that the President is getting serious about the game. I just hope he speaks publicly about what Butch told him to work on! And if I ruled the world for a day, I'd also go with Butch and Tiger, but my venue would be Cypress Point.

Stephanie Wei, WeiUnderPar.com: Well, first, I'm pretty jealous of the President's golfing weekend! It's always funny to me when people/press criticize Obama for playing golf. I think it's great he's trying to get better at the game. Second, I'll take Cypress, Joe Thiel (my swing coach in junior/college golf and I haven't gotten a lesson in probably five years, but I'd never cheat on him), and my partner would be my old buddy Andres Gonzales (also took lessons from Thiel as a junior golfer).

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What's your take on the Tiger-Obama pairing? And which course, coach and partner would you tee off with if you were president?

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