Golf is a game of precision. It is a game that people play to unwind or to relax. President Barack Obama has played the game of golf on vacation many times. He has even said in interviews that when he golfs he has a chance to clear his head. It is the president’s time to unwind from the everyday stresses of the job.
The president has come under fire from some critics in regards to how he spends his leisure time. Typically the president and his advisors shake off the criticism and have mentioned that other presidents have been allowed their free time. In an interview on Meet the Press, the president discussed a recent incident whereby after making statements regarding a slain journalist and speaking to the family he was then seen on the golf course.
In discussing his decision to play golf that day, he says that in part his job is to address the difficult issues as part of the theater of the position. As a politician of any kind, there is a certain amount of having to be in the moment because you are on a stage of sorts. While the president did seem to have his misgivings about the game of golf that was played that day, he also noted that it is important to make sure that the politics and duties of his job were being met. It is about more than the actions of one day but the actions of his term.
Certainly, this is not the first time the president has perhaps played a game of golf that has upset his critics. It does not help that President Obama does not play golf for the politics like some previous presidents, who have used the golf course to continue working. Instead, the president golfs with retired athletes, friends from his days before the White House and a man he now considers a friend but has the official title of White House travel advisor.
Marvin Nicholson is the travel advisor for the White House. He was a caddy for John Kerry and was even with him on the campaign trail during his run for presidency. Since then he has played nearly 140 games of golf with the president. In fact he has played more games of golf with the president than anyone else has whether in or out of the government. Nicholson is the guy that the president has said he can just be one of the guys with. On the golf course with Nicholson, the president can just let loose and swing the club.
Not many men can say they get a chance to play golf with the President of the United States. For Nicholson it is not just about his job but it is a friendship that the two have developed over the course of the presidency. The critics may point out the presidents’ golfing shows a lack of respect but the president made his point quite clear, there will always be tough news in the world. It is how he does his job in the office that matters. His priority is keeping Americans safe and running the country and a game of golf does not change that.
Opinion By Kimberley Spinney