President Barack Obama kicked off the spring season on Saturday with a weekend golf getaway in Florida, teeing off with former NBA star Alonzo Mourning and former sportscaster Ahmad Rashad.
During his stay at the Floridian National Golf Club, less than 50 miles up the coast from Palm Beach, Obama planned to be out of public view, with no official events scheduled. After arriving midday Saturday, he immediately hit the links with Mourning, Rashad and Cyrus Walker, a cousin of Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, the White House said.
Two years ago, Obama caused a stir at this lush, coastal golf resort when he played 18 holes with golf legend Tiger Woods and practiced with Woods' former swing coach. Word that Obama was teeing up with Woods initially came from a professional sports journalist who was on the course and tweeted about it, even though the White House had prohibited the traveling press corps from observing Obama while golfing.
This time, the president's foursome included pro athletes that Obama has gotten to know well over the past few years and has golfed with frequently before. Obama last year headlined a Democratic fundraiser at Mourning's home, and the former Miami Heat player has also pitched in to boost first lady Michelle Obama's childhood nutrition campaign. Rashad and Jarrett dated earlier during the president's term, and he's been an Obama dinner guest.
Mrs. Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha were not on the trip. As in 2013, the White House arranged for the reporters covering the president to wait at a separate location nearby where Obama won't be visible.
Previous administrations have allowed brief news media coverage during presidential rounds of golf. Obama's policy generally is not to allow reporters to observe him. He has made a few exceptions when he's golfed with prominent figures, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, former President Bill Clinton and the leaders of New Zealand and Malaysia.
Obama planned to return to the White House on Sunday evening.