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Remarks at the President's Cup Reception

June 24, 2014

The President. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Well, welcome to the White House. And thank you, Mr. Commissioner, for the introduction. I am joined by two of my favorite golf partners, the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. In each instance, they have to give me strokes. My good friend, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is with us as well. Where's Ray? He was back here somewhere. Well, okay. He probably went out because it's a nice day to play, and we should actually be outside. [Laughter]

Let me make a couple of observations. First of all, I'm not used to seeing these guys in suits. Spieth told me that this is the first suit he's ever bought. [Laughter] I'm pointing out Jordan now because they might card him later at the reception. [Laughter] We've got some outstanding players, both on the American team and the international team. We've got extraordinary veterans like Ernie Els and Tiger Woods. We've got rookies like Jordan. We've got last year's team captains: Fred Couples from the United States and Nick Price for the world. We've got next year's captains: Jay Haas for the Americans and Nick Price for the world.

Now, last year was the second time I'd been honorary chairman of the President's Cup. The United States won both times. I'm just saying. [Laughter] As much as I'd like to take all the credit, the truth is that the U.S. has now beaten the international team in five straight tournaments. Any comment on that, gentleman? [Laughter] Okay, I didn't think so. [Laughter]

I do want to give the international team credit for keeping things interesting. After 2 days of match play, the U.S. led by only a point. And for those of you at home who don't exactly follow international team golf, that means it was close. But on the morning of day 3, the Americans won four of five matches. And on Sunday, Tiger clinched the victory for the third straight President's Cup. So we are extraordinarily proud of the President's Cup team. We hope our World Cup team takes a page out of their playbook when they take on Germany this Thursday.

I want folks from the international team [to know; White House correction.] that we didn't just invite them to rub it in. We want to say thank you to both teams and to the PGA Tour, because as was already pointed out by the commissioner, the money raised by the President's Cup goes to charities chosen by the players. Last year, you raised more than $5 million, which was a new record.

It happens that philanthropy is a second job for many of these players. Ernie's "Els for Autism" foundation just broke ground on a new children's education center in Florida. And I was mentioning to Ernie that families who have an autistic child couldn't be more thankful for the work that his foundation does and the education and awareness that it's brought about. Zach Johnson, with his foundation, supports a free clinic in Zach's hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Through the "Blessings in a Backpack" program, Jason Dufner and his wife Amanda help make sure the kids in their home State of Alabama have enough to eat. The Tiger Woods Foundation creates learning centers and scholarships to help low-income young people succeed in school. And they're holding a tournament in Maryland this Thursday, and Tiger is getting back to the course early in order to host it in person. So the list goes on. All of these guys are giving back to their respective communities. And we want to thank them for being such outstanding ambassadors for golf, who use their success not just on the course, but also to support worthy causes off of the course. I want to congratulate Team U.S.A. on another big win. Best of luck as you defend the title in South Korea next year.

And I want to thank Phil Mickelson for giving me an excellent tip on my sand game, because I'm pretty sure I can shave at least two or three strokes if I can just get out of the darn sand. [Laughter]

Vice President Joe Biden. Absolutely. I'm confident that's true, Mr. President.

The President. You sure?

Vice President Biden. I'm positive.

The President. Okay. Thank you very much, everybody. Congratulations to the two outstanding teams. Appreciate it.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:01 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Timothy W. Finchem, commissioner, Professional Golf Association Tour; and professional golfer Jordan Spieth.

Barack Obama, Remarks at the President's Cup Reception Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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