JUPITER, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump played a round of golf on Friday with star professionals Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson, a rare admission that he is taking time out for his favourite pastime.
Trump regularly spends his weekends at a golf course, but the White House typically declines to confirm that the Republican president is, in fact, golfing.
Trump was at his golf course for four hours, long enough to play 18 holes. Reporters and photographers travelling with him stayed in a clubhouse and were not permitted to see any part of the match, but pictures from club members appeared on social media.
Friday was the third consecutive day that Trump has visited a golf course during his Thanksgiving holiday, which he is spending at a resort he owns in Florida. But it was the first time he has said he was on the greens.
Emphasizing that he would first call Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Middle East peace issues - and later work on economic issues - Trump said on Twitter that he would “play golf (quickly) with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.”
Johnson is the world’s top-ranked golfer, and Woods is a former world champion who has been trying to make a comeback after a series of back surgeries. Trump also golfed with Woods in Florida last December.
Trump himself is no slouch. Golf Digest magazine has said he has a “low single-digit handicap” and may be the best golfer to hold the office of president.
Former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, also was an avid golfer, spending most weekends and downtime on the course with friends, staff and occasionally fellow world leaders or stars like Woods.
During Obama’s tenure, the White House routinely released the names of his golf partners.
But Trump, who regularly excoriated Obama on Twitter for the amount of time he spent golfing, has taken a different tack, most often declining to say whom he is spending time with on the greens.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Von Ahn