Sen. Corker Describes Sen. Chambliss’ Hole-in-One with POTUS

GOP Sens. Saxby Chambliss (left) and Bob Corker of Tennessee (right) golfed on Monday with President Barack Obama (center) at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Chambliss hit a hole-in-one on the 11th hole. (Dennis Brack via White House Pool via Getty Images)

United States presidents know more than the rest of us, and usually in near-real time. They have access to the ever-expanding U.S. intelligence community, after all.

But it turns out there’s one situation in which commanders in chief are just like their constituents: When a member of their golfing foursome hits one over a hill and onto the green, very close to the pin. Just like average folks, even POTUS is left unsure whether the ball dropped into the cup. That’s just what happened to President Barack Obama on Monday.

“We couldn’t tell whether the ball had gone in. The hole was over a hill and so we couldn’t see it,” a member of the high-powered foursome, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told Defense News on Tuesday morning. “The Secret Service guys thought it might have gone in.”

Corker was referring to the tee shot of fellow-GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, which did indeed find the hole on the 11th at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, just a short drive from the White House and Capitol Hill.

Sounding more like your buddies than a sitting U.S. senator — and, therefore, just like a successful politician — Corker described the Chambliss-provided moment this way: “Saxby knocking one in on 11 from 156 yards really … was the exclamation point.”

Corker clearly enjoyed his moment in the presidential spotlight. A quick search of the pool photographs shows the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member sharing a few laughs with POTUS.

“It was spectacular,” Corker said of the Chambliss eagle. Chambliss is retiring at the end of his current term, which Corker indicated made the shot with POTUS even more meaningful.

The members of the foursome — they were joined by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. — were mindful to mark the moment with a special presidential touch.

“We wanted to make sure the president was the one who reached down and pulled the ball out of the hole and handed it to him,” Corker said. “It was exciting.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., after chatting with Defense News about other topics, quipped of Chambliss’ precision tee shot: “Nothing Sen. Chambliss does surprises me.”

The Tennessee Republican’s comments about the hole-in-one came after a conversation about one of the golf outing’s reported subjects: The pursuit of a so-called fiscal “grand bargain” that is needed to substantially lessen or totally replace the remaining nine years of sequestration’s twin $500 billion cuts to planned national defense and domestic spending.

The Monday golf round came as Obama looks to re-start talks with Senate Republicans about a “grand bargain” package. Chambliss, Corker and Udall are strong advocates of reaching a deal as soon as possible.

Corker declined to describe any of the conversations the senators had with Obama on the links.

“It was really about golf and relationships. We all said we wouldn’t have a read out of the conversations that took place,” Corker said. “But it was just a really good day, a very good day. … I think everyone there thoroughly enjoyed it.”

To keep your correspondent busy while he, Obama, McCain, Chambliss and Udall search for a way to make a “grand bargain” happen, the Tennessean assigned some homework: “Hopefully someone should do some research. He might be the only person who’s hit a hole-in-one with a presiding president.”

We’ll make that a priority, senator.

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett