You would think if the President of the United States wanted to play golf, he’d be able to do that. After all, he’s one of the most powerful individuals in the world.
Well, unfortunately for Obama, golf courses in New York’s upscale Westchester County weren’t going to hand over prime tee time on Labor Day weekend just because he’s the president.
JONATHAN DIENST VIA WNBC: "When President Obama’s advance team asked if the president could play 18 holes at these courses when he was in town, all said 'no.'"
According to WNBC, the Trump National Golf Club, the Winged Foot and Willow Ridge all chose to let their high-paying members play over the weekend instead of shutting down their courses just for the president.
The story might explain why, on August 28, the White House announced Obama was changing his scheduled overnight stay in Westchester to come home early instead.
JOSH EARNEST VIA THE WHITE HOUSE: “This is an opportunity for the president, when he saw his schedule, decided that he’d rather just make the late evening flight back here home to the White House he could sleep in his own bed, do a little work tomorrow, spend some time with his family and travel back to New York to attend a private event.”
A columnist for Newsday says he was shocked at the idea that a president’s request could be denied not once, but three times in a single day.
“A presidential request is a presidential request. It's supposed to carry serious weight. If I were managing one of those clubs, I'd have said ‘yes,’ despite the inconveniences involved.”
But a Washington Post writer wonders if there was more at play than just those inconveniences to the clubs and their members.
"It's no secret ... that Westchester County's rich residents were already miffed about the inconvenience of a presidential visit during their leisure time."
A private jet company owner spoke with WCBS before the weekend, who summed up the discontent.
BILL WEAVER: “This is, you know, one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year, and this is the weekend he has to do this? It’s an inconvenience for a lot of people, and they’re not happy.”
Of course, maybe it was for the best Obama had a chance to put the clubs down. He didn't exactly get a positive response when he teed up following a speech on the ISIS beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley.
He was later asked about that decision on NBC’s "Meet the Press."
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “I should have anticipated the optics. ... But part of this job is also the theater of it.”
Obama wasn't alone in not getting the presidential treatment. The Westchester clubs also denied a similar Labor Day request from the King of Morocco.
This video contains images from Getty Images and The White House.