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The jawing can get especially fierce when the opponent is press secretary Robert Gibbs, with whom Obama shares some golfing characteristics. "His game is severely handicapped, as is mine," Gibbs says. (Estimates of the POTUS handicap, for which there is no official documentation, vary from 16 to 24.)
Most of the President's longtime golfing buddies say the First Game is improving. After a brief flirtation with a new Nike driver, Obama has returned to his Titleist and is still struggling to master his new hybrid woods. He putts solidly and is working on his bunker shots, once an Achilles' heel.
The President keeps the game in perspective. Most days Obama does not win or lose more than a few dollars. The Father's Day outing ended with Biden and Obama each collecting $2, though Biden paid for the hot dogs after the front nine. Wilson, who has been playing with Obama since 1999, keeps all his Obama winnings in an envelope, which he has promised as a college fund for Sasha and Malia. As of early July, the envelope contained $2.25.