President Obama’s no speed demon on the golf course

Win McNamee

"While we’re young" may be the slogan for the USGA’s push to eliminate slow play, but apparently President Obama never got the memo.

Barack Obama, whose love for the game rivals that of Bill Clinton, Bush 41 and 43, Dwight Eisenhower, and any of the several other presidents who took to the links, apparently won’t be setting any land speed records for rounds of golf in the near future.

The First Golfer, on a Hawaiian stay-and-play vacay, had taken as long as six hours to turtle his way around 18 holes on one of his seven outings in 12 days during his holiday, according to the New York Times’ Ashley Parker. That sure won’t win the commander-in-chief any kudos from the USGA, whose "While We're Young" campaign seeks to accelerate the pace of play among duffers like Obama.

If his form in this video is any indication, the prez could cut down on his practice strokes and take a couple of chipping and putting lessons.

While industry experts believe the time it takes to play is a serious deterrent to attracting new golfers, it’s possible that Obama’s deliberate style stems from his desire to wind down from the pressures of his day job. Still, noted Don Van Natta Jr., author of the 2003 tome,"First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters From Taft to Bush," there’s methodical, and then there’s s-l-o-w.

"Six hours is an especially long round of golf," the ex-Times writer told Parker, "and five is on the long side, too."

Good thing Obama, who has teed it up with Tiger Woods (who favors fines for playing partners who fiddle and diddle the way Obama appears to), isn’t on the tour, since as Parker observed, "the PGA frowns on slow play, threatening penalties."

Ha ha! Good one, Ashley! Guan Tianlang may have incurred just such discipline at the Masters in April, but the last time the PGA assessed a slow-play sanction in a regular-season tour event was in 1995.

George I and II, by the way, played golf the way the former plowed through the waves in his cigarette boat: with all due haste.  Bush the First sped through his fastest round in less than an hour and a half, according to Parker.

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