Wednesday's NBC Today featured a full report on Tiger Woods praising President Obama's golf game, with White House correspondent Peter Alexander cheering the weekend outing as the "most talked about golf pairing in years" and that Woods "was to golf what the President wants to be to politics, the guy who can't stop winning." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In between clips of Woods, Alexander proclaimed: "And reflecting on their weekend round together, this ruthless competitor admits he was impressed by his presidential partner." After a sound bite of Woods saying Obama could "get to where he's a pretty good stick," Alexander gushed: "In golf-speak, that means the President's got game."
Fill-in co-host and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory introduced the segment by noting that Woods was "giving the President some pretty high marks for his game." He then remarked in jest: "This is very important." Alexander replied: "Yeah, David, this is very important."
On Tuesday's Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams fawned: "[Woods] said the President's a good athlete, and he'd forgotten until he teed off, that he's a lefty....it was apparent listening to Tiger Woods today he was drilled on the proper way to address the President in all cases." Another Woods sound bite played: "Playing with Mr. President was – was pretty cool. He's just a wonderful person to be around. And we won. He hit the ball well and got amazing touch."
Here is a full transcript of the February 20 Today segment:
DAVID GREGORY: Tiger Woods is opening up about his weekend golf outing with President Obama, giving the President some pretty high marks for his game as well. NBC's Peter Alexander is at the White House this morning. Good morning, give us the latest, Peter, from the links. This is very important.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "He's A Pretty Good Stick"; Tiger Woods on Golf Outing With President Obama]
PETER ALEXANDER: Yeah, David, this is very important. As you know well, there are certainly perks to being the president. Just a couple years ago, he brought together an informal dream team with NBA stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. This weekend it was golf with Tiger Woods, who pulled back the curtain, revealing the detailed secrets of the state of the President's game. This is as close as anyone got to witnessing the most talked about golf pairing in years.
[IMAGE OF GOLF CLUB GATE ON SCREEN]
TIGER WOODS: He calls up and he says, "Hey, Tiger, do you want to play?" Obviously, there is a process that's involved. It was an invitation that certainly you don't turn down.
ALEXANDER: For years he was to golf what the President wants to be to politics, the guy who can't stop winning. And reflecting on their weekend round together, this ruthless competitor admits he was impressed by his presidential partner.
WOODS: We played under some tough conditions, and as I said, he hit the ball well and has got an amazing touch. He can certainly chip and putt.
ALEXANDER: These days, Woods is as famous for his personal behavior away from the course as he is for his performance on it. In 2009, before Woods' scandal, the White House released this Oval Office photo of the two, but barely said a word about Sunday's outing. Neither did the President.
[REPORTERS YELLING AT OBAMA: Did you beat Tiger?]
Golf has long been a presidential pastime, from Eisenhower to Ford. Clinton often invited cameras onto the course, and before giving up golf during the Iraq war, George W. Bush even allowed this photo-op.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.
ALEXANDER: The President squeezed in latest round, 116 since taking office, during a boys' weekend in Florida, while his wife and daughters hit the slopes in Colorado.
WOODS: After these four years, if he spends more time playing the game of golf, I'm sure he can actually get to where he's a pretty good stick.
ALEXANDER: In golf-speak, that means the President's got game. The President and Tiger Woods were competing with the U.S. trade representative and the owner of the Houston Astros. If you're wondering, the President and Tiger won. And David, you heard Tiger say that the President can chip and putt. I think that's another way of saying that he doesn't hit the ball so well off the tee, but you just can't say that, you just can't say that.
GREGORY: Typical, you reporters reading that in to what he's actually saying. Peter, thanks very much. Peter Alexander at the White House.
NATALIE MORALES: It is all in the short game, anyway.
GREGORY: Yeah, exactly.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I was going to say, maybe Tiger Woods has a future in diplomacy.
GREGORY: Yeah, exactly.