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Woods joins Obama for 18 holes

– President Obama played golf Sunday with Tiger Woods, the White House said.

Once the sport’s dominant player before his career was sidetracked by scandal, Woods joined Obama at the Floridian, a secluded and exclusive yacht and golf club on Florida’s Treasure Coast where Obama is spending the long Presidents Day weekend. The two had met before, but Sunday was the first time they played together.

The White House prohibited any media coverage of Obama’s golf outing.

The foursome included Jim Crane, a Houston businessman who owns the Floridian and baseball’s Houston Astros, and outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, a former mayor of Dallas, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Obama, an avid golfer, received some instruction Saturday and played a few holes with Butch Harmon, Woods’ former swing coach.

Initial word that the First Duffer would play a round with the world’s No. 2 player didn’t come from the White House but instead came from veteran golf journalist Tim Rosaforte, who announced it on Twitter.

Rosaforte’s late-morning tweet said: “The president is arriving at the Floridian range. Awaiting is Tiger Woods and club owner Jim Crane. Historic day in golf. Their first round.”

White House confirmation of Woods’ participation came about two hours later, following multiple appeals from traveling White House reporters.

Woods departed after the first 18 holes, with Obama staying on to play nine more, the report said.

“Just to see the interaction between the two on the range was pretty neat,” Harmon told Golf Digest. “The president said to Tiger: ‘The last tournament you played was fun to watch. It’s good to see you play well again.’ You could tell he meant it. It just wasn’t a throw-it-out compliment.”

Woods’ personal life imploded in 2009 after revelations that he had engaged in multiple extramarital affairs, leading to divorce.

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