Throughout Obama’s golf games at the private Floridian yacht and golf club, reporters were confined to a hotel or a bus near the entrance of the Florida golf course. Frustrated reporters ironically called their bus the “party bus.”
Obama’s aides argued that the president hadn’t actually left the sprawling compound to play golf, so there was no reason to allow the reporters to follow him.
The reporters’ frustrations were sharpened by their realization that a golf reporter had managed to discover and announce that Obama was on the course with golf-legend Tiger Woods.
“We got confirmation at 1:45 PM that POTUS had been hitting the links with Tiger Woods inside the ‘Floridian’ golf compound, 20 minutes away from the [press] pool hotel” where the press stayed, said an email to Obama’s aides from Tangi Quéméner, the White House correspondent for Agence France-Presse, who was serving as the pool reporter on Feb. 17.
The pool of reporters “has been aware since this morning that a reporter, Tim Rosaforte, had been tweeting and talking on the Golf Channel about the POTUS/Woods game from inside the compound,” Quéméner e-mailed Antoinette Rangel, one of Obama’s press aides.
“At 2:10 PM we logged a request to the White House for access to the President’s game for a photo-op, like this administration and previous ones have granted in the past,” read the 4.45 p.m. message.
“We were told that we … wouldn’t get access to POTUS … We reached the Floridian’s gates at 4:37 [and] we’re holding outside the compound.”