As the Dons arrived at the historic Olympic Club in San Francisco for their routine Thursday practice, they were greeted by a fleet of black SUVs and an old friend. President Barack Obama, a frequent visitor at the Olympic Club, was in town for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee and was perfecting his swing.
The Dons crossed paths with President Obama at the Olympic Club back in 2019. Women’s golf team captain Jade Siphomsay was lucky enough to have been a part of the team for both interactions but was still just as star-struck as the first time they met.
Siphomsay is a master’s student at USF pursuing a degree in urban and public affairs, but the first time she met the President she was a second-year student solidifying her position on the USF golf team. Sporting a USF visor, the President sought some tips from the soon-to-be team captain. “I remember three years ago when I was there, and the President was making small talk and he asked me about the best technique to get out of a bunker shot. I honestly forgot what I said but I definitely stumbled on my words just being so star-struck seeing him.”
“[This time] as he came by, our coach introduced us as the USF women’s golf team,” Siphomsay said. “We had some small talk and asked him for a photo, and he was very sweet as you would think. There was not as much interaction this time, but he shook all our hands and took a picture with us.”
A few weeks later the Dons hosted their first tournament of the 2022-23 season at the Olympic Club. This was a big moment for the program because according to Siphomsay, they are only allowed to host at the Olympic Club once every three years. Founded in 1860, it’s the oldest athletic club in the United States and has hosted multiple national and international championships on its course.
The Dons went on to finish tenth overall as a team, but Siphomsay shined at the tournament finishing 17th overall individually.
She was able to see some of the President’s skills on the course and offered him some advice, from one athlete to another. “I would tell him to keep working on his bunker shot. [Watching him from the cliff], we saw him lean in and shoot the ball way past the green,” she said. “I’d tell him to make sure to open his clubface and his stance, hit it two inches before the ball, and just give it a good swing and he’ll be good.”
When asked if Siphomsay thinks she could beat the President in a game of golf she said, “I definitely think so. It’s the one thing in the world I think I could possibly be better than him at, and I will take that as a win.”