PRESIDENT OBAMA this weekend will be playing golf "on Martha's Vineyard -- his regular August getaway -- so it seems like an appropriate moment" to wonder what golf can reveal about Obama, who by all accounts has "become increasingly obsessed with hitting little white balls into tiny holes," according to a cover story by Michael Hirsh of POLITICO magazine. Golf "has become, more and more, Obama’s refuge from public life -- and, perhaps, from what even some friendlier critics are wondering will be seen as a partially failed presidency." Obama himself, who "has pretty much given up his first sporting love, basketball, because of a fear of injury, has said that playing the game is a way 'to relax and clear my head.'" Yet even a "relatively sympathetic pundit like the Washington Post’s DANA MILBANK recently questioned whether it was wise for the 44th president to be tallying 180-plus rounds during his much-troubled tenure." Perhaps Obama’s approach to golf "can tell us a thing or two about his presidential legacy." It is "fair to question whether his isolationism on the course reflects his entire approach to leadership" (POLITICO magazine, 8/7 issue).
People and Pop Culture
The Dew Tour is set to celebrate its 10-year anniversary in September, and it is hard for PepsiCo Dir of Sports Marketing AMANDA HELM to believe she has been with the company since before the event’s inception. Helm, who joined PepsiCo in ’00, works remotely out of Seattle and manages all of Mountain Dew’s lifestyle sports partnerships. With Dew Tour stops still upcoming in Portland, Brooklyn and Breckenridge -- and PepsiCo’s HQ being located in White Plains, N.Y. -- Helm is constantly on the road, working to foster the brand’s relationships with different properties. But she will get a breather this weekend, when she is able to stay home in Seattle and spend all her free time with her two young daughters.
PICNIC IN THE PARK: With Pepsi, we’ve got a great benefit, which is our summer hours on Friday. So we get off a little bit early and even though I’m on the West Coast, I work East Coast hours. On a traditional Monday through Thursday, I work 5:30am PT until about 4:00pm PT. But on Fridays, my day ends -- because everybody in New York is done around 1:00pm ET or 2:00pm ET -- my day ends around 11:00am PT or 12:00pm PT. So Fridays are the days when I get to have some really great one-on-one time with my kids. We usually have a picnic lunch and then I’ll strap my 11 month old to my chest in the Baby Bjorn and take her and my 4-year-old daughter for a nice long walk. We usually go off and venture through the waterfront of Seattle.
A SLICE OF THE PIE: We always have pizza night on Fridays. Sometimes we make our own but most often we go out and explore some of the great pizza restaurants out here in Seattle. Our favorite one lately is a place called Humble Pie, which actually serves pizza out of a shipping container. It seems completely cool and ironic from a Pacific Northwest perspective but it’s one of the best pizza places here in the city and they are all about sustainability -- they have their own local chickens and ingredients. The toppings change with whatever season you’re in, so right now one of the great vegetables that is in season is the summer squash.
RUN AWAY WITH ME: Because of my work schedule, I’m naturally a pretty early riser. On a rare occasion when my girls do decide to sleep in past 6:30am, I really enjoy a quiet run. I love to run, and now that I’m post the early stages of having a baby and it’s been 11 months, I can get back into my routine of running two or three times a week. If the girls do get up and it’s still early, I’ll throw them in the jog stroller and take them with me. But getting up for a run right as the sun rises on a Saturday morning is my idea of a perfect start to the weekend.
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: I think it’s a good thing to show my daughters that exercise and sports are a great lifestyle to participate in and embrace. My dad has been a huge influence on me and my life -- coaching me in soccer, teaching me to both snow and water ski, showing me that there’s fun in being active. He’s been the best encouragement a daughter could ask for and is healing from a battle with cancer right now.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Saturday afternoons are all about exploring the day and figuring out which mountain, park, zoo or farm that we’re going to visit. One of the main reasons I don’t spend too much time inside our house in the summer is we’ve got greenways, we have walkways, we have parks, we have mountains to climb. There’s always something to be doing. That’s one of the funny things that I found when I moved from New York to Seattle is that people get to work really early so they can leave a little early because there’s always a mountain to climb or an adventure to be had and people take advantage of it. I’m really embracing that lifestyle.
CONSTRUCTION ZONE: We are building a couple houses, part of a development project that we like to do on our weekends. We bought a property and subdivided the lot. We’re building two houses actually, and are going to be selling one and moving into the other. It’s a modular home project, so it’s kind of a pre-set design with Method Homes that we felt really good about from a sustainability perspective. It’s a development project that my husband has been spearheading and it’s been in the works for about a year and a half, but we’re almost to the finish line. That’s another thing we are working on during the weekends. Usually our Sundays we sort through some of our stuff. It’s funny how years of life and having two kids will help you collect stuff you never thought you needed. We’re sorting through that slowly but surely so we can get to the big move in October.
FARM TO TABLE: Sunday morning is when I take advantage of the great stuff growing in our neighbors’ gardens. I don’t have my own, but they are very thankful and plentiful in giving me food from their gardens. So I’ll use zucchinis from next door and the herbs from our other neighbors and just whip up some great omelets or some fresh berry pancakes and have an event around that bunch. Then it’s off to the farmers market. On Sundays, there’s a farmers market on Mercer Island that we go to every week. It’s a social event. It’s a time to let the kids run around and play soccer on the fields and pick up some fresh fruits or vegetables. It’s something we look forward to every week.
Gatorade has changed the titles and responsibilities for two execs. Senior Dir of Sports Marketing JOHN SHEA, a member of this year's SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 class, is now Head of Global Markets. He will take over leadership of the brand's global business efforts. Meanwhile, Senior Dir of Athlete Services JEFF KEARNEY will assume the role of Senior Dir of Gatorade Sports Marketing (THE DAILY).
EXECS: The Royals named JASON BOOKER Senior Dir of Corporate Sponsorships & Broadcast Sales. Booker for the past seven years has served as the Exec Dir & GM of the Univ. of Kansas' Jayhawk IMG Sports Marketing (Royals)....OnCore Golf named JOSEPH WHITE President & COO (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/7)....ESPN Digital & Print Media named AMY DUBOIS BARNETT Exec Editor of the yet-to-be-announced website headed by JASON WHITLOCK (ESPN)....The Pistons named Wake Forest Dir of Basketball Operations JEFF NIX Assistant GM. Nix previously sent 15 years in the Knicks organization (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/8).
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Sources said that WAYNE GRETZKY has talked to golfer DUSTIN JOHNSON, who is engaged to Gretzky's daughter, PAULINA, "cautioning him to clean up his act, or the wedding was off." Johnson has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the PGA Tour for personal reasons, though he reportedly was suspended six months after testing positive for cocaine. Sources noted that the Gretzky family "was aware of his penchant for partying, and that Wayne sought to be a positive influence, and offer help." Johnson and Paulina Gretzky in January announced plans for a wedding this fall. However, she announced in May the wedding had been postponed due to Johnson's "busy schedule" (FOXNEWS.com, 8/6).
ROOM WITH A VIEW: ESPN's SAGE STEELE and JEMELE HILL were among the nine women to interview with ABC daytime talk show "THE VIEW" as possible replacements for outgoing hosts JENNY MCCARTHY and SHERRI SHEPHERD. Also among those interviewing was OCTOBER GONZALEZ, the wife of former NFLer TONY GONZALEZ, though she "doesn't appear to have previous television experience" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 8/7).
NAMES: Stars Owner TOM GAGLARDI on Thursday was "convicted of violating Canadian federal environmental laws" in Kamloops, British Columbia. He was charged with "two counts of harmful alteration of fish habitat." He is due back in court Aug. 21 for sentencing (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/8)....Hockey HOFer LUC ROBITAILLE will be the "seventh Los Angeles sports icon to be honored with a statue" outside Staples Center. It will be unveiled on March 7 before a Kings-Penguins game "as part of next season's Kings Legends Night Series" (LATIMES.com, 8/7)....Indiana Univ. men's basketball coach TOM CREAN tops the list of the state's highest-paid public employees with a salary of $2.94M. Other college coaches among the top 20 on the list include Purdue men's basketball coach MATT PAINTER (No. 2), Purdue football coach DARRELL HAZELL (No. 4), IU football coach KEVIN WILSON (No. 5) and Purdue women's basketball coach SHARON VERSYP (No. 17) (INDYSTAR.com, 8/7)....Former MLBer MARIANO RIVERA accepted a $50,000 check for his Refuge of Hope charity prior to Thursday's Altoona Curve-Trenton Thunder Double-A Eastern League game (TIMES OF TRENTON, 8/8)....Pro Football HOFer EMMITT SMITH's commercial property brokerage is "expanding into Houston." The Dallas-based company also is "planning an office in Austin and has set its sights on expanding nationwide" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/8).