They met in January 2009, during Obama’s inauguration in Washington. Four months later, in April, Woods visited the White House and Obama received him in the Oval Office.
Woods’ personal life imploded later in 2009 after revelations that he had engaged in multiple extramarital affairs, leading to divorce. He followed with a public apology and announced he was taking an indefinite break from golf. Shortly after Woods announced he was coming out of seclusion, Obama said in an interview with Fox News Channel that Woods will still be a “terrific” golfer despite his personal issues.
After returning to the sport, Woods went two years without winning, but his game is back on track and he currently is ranked No. 2 in the world. Woods won the last tournament he played, three weeks ago in San Diego.
The White House made clear from the start of Obama’s trip that there would be no coverage of him because he would be on vacation with no plans to leave the club, which remained open to members and their guests.
It arranged for the pool of reporters who traveled with Obama to bunk at a Holiday Inn about a 20-minute drive away in Port St. Lucie. Whenever the reporters were brought to the Floridian on the off chance that Obama might leave the property, they were taken no further than a maintenance shed beyond the club gates but on the edge of the grounds.
The presence at the Floridian of a professional journalist who tweeted about Obama’s game as he was playing, while White House reporters essentially were locked out, brought a sharp response from Ed Henry, the Fox News Channel correspondent who also is president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
“A broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the president of the United States this entire weekend,” Henry said in a statement. “There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency.”
In response, Earnest, the White House spokesman said: “The press access granted by the White House today is entirely consistent with the press access offered for previous presidential golf outings. It’s also consistent with the press access promised to the White House Press Corps prior to arrival in Florida on Friday evening.”
Previous administrations have allowed brief news media coverage at either the beginning or the end of presidential golf games. Obama’s policy generally is no coverage at all, but exceptions were made for separate outings he had in 2011 with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and former President Bill Clinton.
Golf Channel said Rosaforte is a member of the Floridian who sent his tweets from the clubhouse. Rosaforte did not have access to the course or to Obama, the network said.
Obama is in Florida while his wife and daughters are on an annual ski vacation out West. He was due to arrive back in Washington on Monday night.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.