Captains visit with President Obama in White House

Pete Souza/White House
May 29, 2013
By PGATOUR staff

A little over 24 hours before he was slated to tee off with the world's No. 1 golfer at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, Fred Couples found himself in even more heady company at the White House.

Couples and Nick Price, captains of the U.S. and International teams, respectively, for the 10th Presidents Cup, took a quick trip up to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama, who will be the honorary chairman of the event when it's held in October at Muirfield Village.

The visit to the Oval Office was the second for Couples, who is looking for his third victory as captain of the American team. The World Golf Hall of Famer had previously met the President at the White House prior to the 2009 matches at Harding Park in San Francisco, where Obama also served as honorary chairman.

President Obama joked that his game had not gotten any better since he last saw Couples. "(But) that's probably for the best, because if I started playing better, everyone would be suspicious that I'm not working very hard," Obama said.

The President asked Price, who is making his debut as the International Captain, how his team is stacking up. Price said it's predominently made up of Australians and South Africans right now but added that the summer's slate of tournaments, which includes three majors and one World Golf Championships event, would likely help define the International squad.

Couples then joked that if the President could help lose some passports, that would be a big help to the U.S. Team in October.

The two captains also suggested the three play golf together in the near future, an idea which the President heartily supported. He laughed when Couples asked if he could wear shorts, too.

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was also in attendance, and President Obama complimented the three on all the work the organization does with charity. Prior to meeting with the President, the group got a brief tour of the West Wing and the Rose Garden, then hit a few putts on the White House putting green.

About two hours before the meeting in the Oval Office, The Presidents Cup was also in the news in Dublin, Ohio, where the matches will be held Oct. 3-6, as Davis Love III was announced as the second of Couples' assistant captains. Love, who captained the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team in a one-point loss at Medinah Country Club in Chicago with Couples as one of his assistants, joins Jay Haas in helping their good friend.

Love played in six Presidents Cups and six Ryder Cups. The 20-time PGA TOUR winner owns a 16-8-5 record in Presidents Cup play and was paired with Couples on the first day of the competition in its 1994 debut -- where they beat Price and Bradley Hughes 1 up in Four-balls.

Love, who said he loves all aspects of the team competition, acknowledged he was a little surprised Couples asked him to be an assistant "because he kind of did his own thing the first couple of times he did it. I really actually wasn't expecting it because we hadn't talked about it.

"But he and Jay were playing in Mississippi and they called me on speakerphone and I was excited. Obviously, to be around a team again so soon is really great for me, because we had a great experience for two years. And it would be nice to jump right back in and let him make the speeches."

Price's assistants are Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone.