Obama’s 18 Favorite Golf Partners (You’ve Only Heard of One)

An interactive tally of all 145 rounds of golf that the president has played while in office.

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For decades, the most powerful golf game in Washington has usually been whichever one the President plays. In the past five years, the capital’s power brokers have had almost zero luck joining it.  Marvin Nicholson, meanwhile, has had the privilege 103 times since Barack Obama took office.

Nicholson is not a Washington stiff. He is a former bartender and caddy who became John Kerry’s body man during the 2004 campaign after meeting the then-senator at a windsurfing shop. He now serves as Obama’s trip director, overseeing all aspects of the president’s travel. But his most important role is arguably as First Bro, accompanying the president on about two-thirds of his 145 golf outings since taking office, according to TIME’s analysis of daily press pool reports.

Most presidents play golf, regardless of whether they enjoyed the sport as a non-president. Clinton, who was famous for cheating, employed the sport just as one might assume: as grounds for entertaining donors and buttering up entrenched political opponents. Obama clearly prefers to use his tee times to unwind with the guys—and they are almost exclusively guys—and appears reluctant to introduce new faces to his foursomes. He eschews golf’s “good ole boy” image in at least one way: Of the 16 men Obama has played golf with at least 5 times, 12 of them are younger than him, most by at least a decade.

And since winning reelection, he has played like a man possessed. His outing with Nicholson and sports journalists Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on Sept. 14 marked the 11th straight weekend that he has played, dating back to an Africa trip in late June that pulled him away from the game for a few days. Between a birthday celebration at the Andrews Air Force Base on Aug. 3, six rounds during a week in Martha’s Vineyard, and two weekend outings in the Washington region after returning, he set a personal record of nine outings in the month of August. He squeezed in the last of those outings shortly after he announced that he would seek Congressional approval for a military strike on Syria. Through the first week of September, he has played 32 times in 2013, putting him on track to shatter his annual record of 34 games, set in 2011.

If there’s any question that Obama prefers to leave the presidency behind when on the course, consider this: Obama has included another elected official in a game only nine times since taking office, and on five of those occasions that official was Joe Biden. Meanwhile, he has played 33 rounds with campaign photographer David Katz, 26 with his friend Dr. Eric Whitaker from Chicago, and nine with Walter Nicholson, a man who’s chief qualification is being the trip director’s brother.

The following infographic displays every game the president has played by month and year, including who he took along and where they played. His most frequent companions are listed at the bottom.

Methodology

Data updated on Jan. 3, 2014. An archive of pool reports was generously provided by Gerhard Peters of the American Presidency Project. Names of Obama’s companions were first extracted using a custom computer script and then checked by hand. When possible, results were corroborated against the Washington Post POTUS Tracker and records kept by CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.

With Alexander Ho and Alex Rogers.

30 comments
chrs357
chrs357

A weekend round of golf is a good stress reliever, after a week of stress, regardless of political preference!.  Perhaps this will encourage more young African Americans to get into golf. 

traditionalman
traditionalman

Barack uses golf as a recruiting tool just like pedophile priests use alter boy duty or choir boy assignments. He is off camera, off mike, and out of earshot.

reallife
reallife

wow! going for a Pulitzer, aren't we?


jmac
jmac

"Now watch this drive!"

Was that before or after Iraq?

JConabicycle
JConabicycle

Think these golf jaunts have influenced his Supreme Court appointments?   Who cares who he golfs with?  Or plays basketball with?  What do YOU do on your off time, who do you do it with, and what can we INFER from that?   Check yourself...someone may decide to investigate YOUR habits and report on them!!!

HillaryDarton
HillaryDarton

You know this is one darn stupid article. But what else would I expect from the media.

Openminded1
Openminded1

everyone needs stress relief even Muslim Presidents.

traderjim7
traderjim7

I want Time to publish a list of Bill Clinton's 18 favorite girlfriends.

Libtards-UNITE
Libtards-UNITE

I wish I had the kind of job that allowed me to golf that much.  It must be easy being president.

paulejb
paulejb

Better he play golf than stumble around pretending he is actually a president.

romerjt
romerjt

145 times may sound like a lot but not to a golfer . . .  considering he's been in office for over 250 weekends, even accounting for the unplayable months in DC.  Considering he probably doesn't have to play behind anybody looking for balls or playing really slow he ought to be able to play at least once a week. 

RedDeutsch
RedDeutsch

I think  it's even easier to be not very intelligent

JConabicycle
JConabicycle

@Libtards-UNITE If you do it the way George did, you'd have a hundred days a year to cut brush.  Now watch this drive.....

HillaryDarton
HillaryDarton

@Libtards-UNITE   If you want a job that allow you to play golf that much, 2016 run President. If George W. Bush could make it maybe you can too. I forgot, the Supreme Court gave G.W. the election.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Didn't you hear? The majority gave Willard Romney the atomic wedgie he deserved on Election Day, 2012. Obama is actually president.

HillaryDarton
HillaryDarton

@paulejb There is no pretending, Barack H. Obama is the President of the United States. And I'm glad he is.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@romerjt How strange a President who needs balls not looking for any, well I guess that is par for the course with this guy.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@AZWI @Openminded1 I do not hate Obama, were you get racist crap just saying it like is,he is a muslim. By the way AZWI I am just like Obama half black and white just not a muslim. What is a AZWI?

Openminded1
Openminded1

@HillaryDarton @Libtards-UNITE no one has a chance in 2016 the media and you liberals want Hillary so you can make history again the first President to give a BJ in the OVal office, why not Billy was the first we know off to get one in the Oval Office. What comes around goes around.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@HillaryDarton @paulejb That is because you are a dummy liberal who will vote along party lines even if Charles Manson was running against the POPE. That or you have a thing for black men.I am betting on the latter.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@Hollywooddeed Hollywood i never vote along any party lines not your liberal friends or the GOP gents. I vote for whom ever I think is the best women or man for the job. Obama was not the man nor was the mormon MItt. And white guys are not my cup of tea nor black guys for that matter I do not get along with men to much, i was always to busy f-ing there girlfriends and wives i was a real ass hole when i was young. I know you wont resist saying when you were young how about now,so i will say it for you. like I always say to you Cute Dog, i am a real animal lover. do not like people to much but love animals.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

It's not like you don't do the same thing. Or you have a think for white guys.