The Obama-Boehner 'golf summit': 4 predictions

The president and House speaker will play 18 holes later this month. Can they work out their deficit disagreements on the links? And who will shoot a lower score?

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

After months of rumor and speculation, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have set a date for their "golf summit." On June 18, the two avid golfers will tee off together for the first time ever, at an undisclosed golf course somewhere in or around Washington, D.C. What will the two political opponents talk about, and who will win the high-stakes match? Here, four predictions about the Obama-Boehner face-off:

1. There will be lots of shop talk, but few results

Beyond playing a friendly game, Obama and Boehner are expected to infuse the golf summit with a good deal of politicking, focusing on the GOP's demands for deep spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. It would be great if they could work out their differences over 18 holes, says Mike Vilensky at New York. But the GOP and Obama are so far apart on this issue, "maybe that'll take 27 holes. Or 36." Or a lot more.

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2. Boehner is favored to win

Both men love their golf, but "Boehner clearly is the better player," says John Strege at Golf Digest. The speaker has a handicap of about 7.9 strokes, "while Obama's handicap is believed to be about 17." That ranks Boehner No. 43 among Washington power-player golfers, and Obama No. 108, says Glenn Thrush at Politico. "But Obama's political career has been built on creating deceptively low expectations, and even people close to Boehner harbor suspicions that the purported skill gap between the speaker and the president may not be quite as great as advertised."

3. They'll put some money on the line

Obama likes to make friendly bets on his golf game, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see the two leaders "betting a dollar on each hole," says Ben Johnson at Slate. Maybe their "little wager" could have slightly higher stakes, says Karen Beseth at The Lonely Conservative. "If Obama wins he gets a tax hike, if Boehner wins we get some massive spending cuts." Or how about this, says Gawker. The "winner gets, well, a lovely afternoon out on the course! The loser goes to Guantanamo Bay."

4. Real golf fans won't be paying much attention

The exact location is hush-hush — Boehner belongs to two private clubs, while Obama mostly golfs at Andrews Air Force Base and Fort Belvoir — but "it's safe to conclude that Congressional Country Club is out," says Golf Digest's Strege. On June 18, that famed course will be hosting Day 3 of the nationally televised U.S. Open. So as irresistible as political junkies may find the Boehner-Obama match, says Carl Hulse in The New York Times, it "will not be the most closely watched local golf match of that Father's Day weekend."

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