A former White House spokesperson for President George W. Bush said President Barack Obama did not allow reporters and photographers to be near his golf outing with Tiger Woods last weekend at the private Floridian golf club because they feared images of Obama and Woods on the golf course would look terrible.
Tony Fratto, who now runs the Hamilton Place Strategies consulting firm, said the White House probably thinks the American people do not care about Obama's golf outings because the president got re-elected even though the Obama consistently golfed while there were two wars overseas and a financial crisis. However, he noted the White House also recognizes that images of Obama and Woods on the golf course may not be the best "optics."
“If he truly didn’t worry about the optics of it, they would let people take pictures of him golfing," Fratto told
Bloomberg News. “I can tell you, from someone who’s made decisions about whether you want the press in the room or not, when you think it’s not going to look good you generally don’t allow press coverage."
According to Bloomberg, Fratto also said Obama and his team probably did not set up a golf outing with Woods during the 2012 election year because they feared the optics.
Not only does the fantasy-like golf outing at the exclusive resort with swing coach Butch Harmon and Woods make Obama seem out of touch as he tries to frame himself as a champion of the middle class, but being seen with Woods could also hurt him with women voters, one of Obama's most loyal and key constituencies.
Women voters still do not look favorably upon Woods, whose life came crashing down after Thanksgiving of 2009 when he crashed into a fire hydrant in his neighborhood after his wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, intercepted a text message from one of his many mistresses. After mistress after mistress came out in the days and weeks after, Woods's life became surrounded by even more scandal and turmoil, and it is something from which he is still trying to recover.
Though Obama already won reelection, he still needs women voters to support his second-term agenda. And images of Obama and Woods at the Floridian splashed across every television screen and website may have done much more harm than good.