Barack Obama 'dumps basketball for golf'

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London, Dec 27 (ANI): U.S. president Barack Obama, known for playing basketball, has a clandestine golf habit, it has emerged.

Since taking office at the start of the year he has sneaked out of the White House at least once a fortnight for a round of golf with junior aides and long-time friends, with no press allowed.

In his 11 months as president, Obama has played only seven known games of basketball, reports Times Online.

On the other hand, he has played 25 rounds of golf - more than George W Bush played in his entire two terms, according to Mark Knoller, White House correspondent for CBS.

Obama's enthusiasm for golf may help to explain why he has chosen sunny Hawaii over his snow-covered Chicago hometown for his Christmas break.

He is expected to fit in several more rounds of golf before the end of the year.

The Wall Street Journal, which sniffed out his sporting secret, said Obama is a mediocre player and has a cramped swing that goes to the left.

He may be admired for his intellect, eloquence and athleticism but his golf handicap hovers in the mid-twenties - weak to average.

David Axelrod, the president's political adviser, refused to divulge any details, describing Obama's score as a matter of 'national security'.

However, Gene Mulak, resident pro at the Vineyard Club in Martha's Vineyard, revealed that during the summer he had helped teach the president how to extricate himself from the golfing equivalent of Afghanistan - bunkers.

Tom Ferraro, a sports psychologist, said Obama does not talk much about swinging because: Golf is considered elitist and most presidents don't want to be considered that."

"Obama taking up golf is an interesting paradox. Basketball is considered an inner-city, more black, sport and golf an upper-class white sport.

"I guess Obama is a bit of both," Ferraro added. (ANI)

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