News & ToursOctober 6, 2009

Was he here to talk healthcare?

SAN FRANCISCO -- A pristine morning here on the edge of Lake Merced: clear sky, mist rising up from the ground, a refreshing chill to the air.

When the U.S. team bus pulled into Harding Park shortly before 9 and players and caddies filed off the bus and into their team room, armchair analysts might have noticed the conspicuous absence of Tiger Woods. Was the world No. 1 sleeping in? Was he already here?

Then a few minutes later a stir. Police cars, SUVs. An initial thought: this is a bit much, even for Woods.

Alas, the fuss was not over Woods, but one William Jefferson Clinton, at least one of the requisite presidents in attendance for this Presidents Cup (as for the sitting president, don't get your hopes up. While Barack Obama is indeed the honorary chairman of this year's competition, whatever small chance there was of his actually showing up at Harding Park was likely dismissed last week in Copenhagen).

Not that Clinton is a mere consolation prize (granted, Clinton had other items on his itinerary this week, namely endorsing San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom for governor). After pulling into the parking lot and spending a few minutes parked in the back of an SUV, the 42nd president finally emerged, resplendent in a a red golf shirt and black sweater vest, with that famous coif as white as fresh-fallen snow. Waiting to be told his next move, Clinton spent several minutes in the parking lot talking to Commissioner Tim Finchem (no truth to the rumor Clinton was offering his own thoughts on the next points revision of the FedEx Cup). Then finally, he was summoned from the lot and was last seen walking into the U.S. team room.

Coincidentally, just as Clinton was walking in, Steve Williams was walking out with a golf bag over his shoulder. Former leaders of the free world are great, but he's not the one signing Williams' checks.

--* Sam Weinman*

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