Court drama with Obama
Golfer Parker McLachlin tells of shooting hoops with President-elect Barack Obama.
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2009 11:02 GMT

Obama likes to dust off his Air Force Ones and shoot some hoops [GALLO/GETTY]
The last six months have been surreal for American golfer Parker McLachlin, who can boast of winning his maiden PGA Tour title and playing basketball with US President-elect Barack Obama.

McLachlin's breakthrough victory last August on the world's most lucrative circuit will forever be a career highpoint but equally unforgettable was his chance to go one-on-one with fellow Hawaiian Obama on the basketball court last month.

"It was really cool," McLachlin said of the pick-up basketball game in Honolulu last month while the Obama family were holidaying in Hawaii.

Presidential guard

"He was guarding me and I was guarding him and it was pretty intense.

"He's a great passer and he's got real good vision. He likes to dish off but he likes to drive too.

"He was really good on the fast break. He likes to hit guys on the wings and stuff.

"He has great stamina, kept running up and down the court and he never took a play off. He played hard the whole time."

As a schoolboy at Punahou High in Honolulu, the President-elect was coached basketball by McLachlin's father Chris and they have stayed in touch ever since.

"He (Obama) was nice enough to invite my dad out to their reunion pick-up game at the end of last month with some of his class mates," McLachlin, 29, recalled with a broad grin.

"I was fortunate enough that my dad said: 'Hey, can my couple of sons come along and play?' So we were able to get in.

"They played four games and we got in for one of the games."

Supreme court

Parker sticks to what he does best [GALLO/GETTY]
McLachlin, who played as a shooting guard at junior high with the emphasis on shooting rather than defence, was delighted to hold the President-elect to just one basket.

"He scored on me just once and he had averaged about four baskets in each of the previous games," he said.

UCLA graduate McLachlin, who clinched his maiden PGA Tour victory at last year's Reno-Tahoe Open, was impressed by Obama's friendly, down-to-earth attitude.

"You look at him and think: 'Wow, the next president of the United States.' And yet, after kind of getting to know him, you realise he is a person just like anybody else," he said.

Asked to pinpoint one memory of meeting Obama for the first time, McLachlin replied: "He said to me: 'You must be a golfer to show up to a pickup basketball game with tennis shoes and not basketball shoes.'

"I thought that was pretty funny."

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