President Barack Obama watches the ball after making a putt in 2009. (Chris Carlson / Associated…)
Tiger Woods had a good reason for snubbing the Northern Trust Open again this year.
It turns out he was playing in the President's Cup.
Woods spent Sunday playing golf with President Obama at the Floridian, a secluded club on that state's Treasure Coast.
Tim Rosaforte, a writer for Golf World magazine, first reported the news via Twitter.
The Associated Press stated it was the first time that the president and Woods have played golf together.
Woods, at age 16, got an exemption to play the Northern Trust Open in 1992, but he has never won at Riviera and hasn't entered the event since 2006.
Woods has played only one stateside PGA event this year, winning the Farmers Insurance Open last month at Torrey Pines.
Woods is scheduled to play the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship this coming week outside Tucson.
Woods is the top-seeded player in the "Player" division and will play No. 16 Charles Howell III.
More match play fodder
Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson started last week No. 66 in the world and got into the event only after Brandt Snedeker withdrew because of a rib injury.
Thanks to his T3 finish in the Northern Trust, though, Jacobson has played his way into a No.12 seeding. He'll face No. 5 Ernie Els in the "Hogan" division.
"I wasn't expecting to be in the field," Jacobson said. "I'm just excited to be a part of it. I'll deal with it when I get there."
John Merrick is the ninth player to record his first PGA win in the Northern Trust, formerly the Los Angeles Open.
The others were Len Mattiace (2002), Kirk Triplett (2000), Chip Beck (1998), T.C. Chen (1987), Phil Rodgers (1962), Fred Wampler (1954), Johnny Bulla (1941) and Victor Ghezzi (1935).
Well, of course he thinks that now
Merrick won Sunday's tournament with a par on the par-four 10th hole.
"I think it's one of the great par-fours that we play," he said.
It's not chump change
Blayne Barber, the rookie from Auburn who made his PGA debut this week at Riviera, ended up at one-over 285 overall after rounds of 69-70-72-74. He finished T-42 and earned $23,760.
Hey, not too shabby. Jack Nicklaus also cashed his first PGA check at the L.A. Open. It was for $33.33.
Barber disqualified himself from Q-school last fall after realizing after Phase One he should have taken a two-shot penalty for a rules violation. He assessed himself one stroke and thus signed an incorrect score card.
Barber can tell his kids he finished ahead of two-time Northern Trust champion Fred Couples, who finished at two-over 286 and tied for 46th place. Couples played his last three rounds at five over par after an opening-round 68.