President Obama's Florida golf outing with Tiger Woods proves costly
Tiger Woods and President Obama recently enjoyed a round at the Floridian, an upscale course in Palm City, Fla.
And it was costly.
Members of the course pay a $50,000 initiation fee and $15,000 in annual dues, according to Melissa Holsman of TCPalm.com. An hour with swing coach Butch Harmon at his on-site learning center sets you back another $3,000. But that total still falls short of what it cost just to protect the President while he enjoyed his eighteen holes with the world's No. 2 player.
The total bill for local law enforcement during the golf getaway was $78,205, according to WPTV.com.
St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office sourced the majority of the work with over 100 officers manning access gates and sixteen holes on the course.
Eighty-two deputies and a civilian vehicle maintenance employee worked at various times at a cost of $58,452.21 in salaries, sheriff’s officials said. St. Lucie County deputies handled security issues for 16 golf holes and access gates.
About 30 Martin deputies worked throughout the golf outing, at a salary cost of $17,452.92, with a majority going to overtime pay.
Port St. Lucie police spent $2,300 for a sergeant and six officers, with the bulk of the cost for overtime. Port St. Lucie officers provided traffic control for the presidential motorcade from Florida’s Turnpike on Becker Road to Gilson Road.
But no one was complaining about the charges, at least publicly.
"We don't resent doing this," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said. "This is part of what we do. He's the president of the United States of America. It was our obligation to provide the security necessary for the president of the United States."
Tiger might have felt an obligation to even the playing field during his round with the President last week.
On Wednesday at a pro-am during the Honda Classic, Woods said he played a $5 Nassau during his round with the President against Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
The catch? Woods had to tee-off from the "Tee III," which measures 906 total yards shorter than the 7,114 yard Tee I.
Bob Harig of ESPN.com noted it was Woods' personal "Tee It Forward" gesture, an idea currently promoted by the USGA to quicken pace of play. Woods also said the bet included hitting driver even on the shortened holes. Even though the change in tees significantly reduces the yardage of the top two handicapped holes, No. 9 and 18, by almost 80 yards each, Woods said the change in distance didn't always translate into better results.
"It's not that easy," he said. "There's nowhere to hit it from up there. The fairways get narrower and the holes bend."
His match with Obama was the first of two highly-publicized exhibition matches for Woods this month, with the second coming last Sunday against world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
But it's doubtful the top two players in the world played from anything other than the championship tees.
(Photo: President Obama on a golf course in Hawaii on Dec. 31, 2009. Chris Carlson/AP)