President Barack Obama smiles as he nears the conclusion of a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The president spoke on various topics including the economy, immigration, Ukraine and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama opened his birthday weekend on Saturday with a round of golf with friends before escaping to the Maryland mountains.
Obama turns 53 on Monday. In what's become an annual birthday tradition, he joined friends on the green for an early morning round at Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland, where the clouds threatening rain held off long enough for the president to get in 18 holes.
Rounding out his foursome were presidential pals Mike Ramos, Bobby Titcomb and Greg Orme, the White House said. All three are longtime friends dating back to Obama's childhood in Hawaii.
Although they teed off against eight other golfers, Obama and his team finished with the winning score, the White House said. In another birthday ritual, that victory earned Obama's three teammates a ride with the president aboard Marine One for the short flight to Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains.
Also aboard the president's helicopter: Obama personal trainer Cornell McClellan. The other golfers, who weren't identified by the White House, were expected to travel to Camp David by car.
The White House didn't say what Obama had in store for the rest of his birthday weekend or whether first lady Michelle Obama would be joining him. Obama planned to return to the White House on Sunday afternoon.