Obama invites Key on golf date
John Key's last meeting with Barack Obama - in October as the NZ PM attended the East Asia Summit in Brunei - lasted all of 10 minutes.
This morning in Hawaii, he got a serious amount of face time as the Prime Minister played a round of golf with the US President.
Mr Key's teenage son Max and President Obama's personal aide Marvin Nicholson rounded out the foursome.
The US Consulate in Auckland says President Obama invited Mr Key to play. The pair spent several hours together Thursday local time.
The Whitehouse released an official photo of the golf date (above right) and said in a statement that the leaders have developed a close partnership, which reflects the countries' friendship and broad cooperation.
It said while Mr Obama and Mr Key are enjoying some time off with families and friends, they have reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing regional security.
"In addition to sharing their mutual interest in golf, the leaders talked about working together to deepen trade, enhance security and support democratic values shared by both countries," the Whitehouse said.
The Whitehouse did not reveal the final score; right-wing blogger and pollster David Farrar claims to have the inside word: the President and the PM won.
Both men are holidaying on the Hawaiian island of Oahu; Mr Obama at a rented home, Mr Key at his $6 million apartment.
The game was played at a golf course on a military base on the island.
The golf date saw US media, including the Washington Post, not only identify Mr Key (a feat not managed at Nelson Mandela's funeral), but spell his name correctly - although "New Zealand" got a touch mangled in a tweet by deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting Ben Rhodes:
Today POTUS is golfing with Prime Minister Key here in Hawaii - New Zeland is one of our closest friends (and home to very good golfers...)— Ben Rhodes (@rhodes44) January 2, 2014
The Post says President Obama is an avid golfer, but was not on form today - at least on course’s second hole, a 423-yard par 4 that includes a large water hazard on the initial drive and a dogleg left - where media were allowed a photo op.
President Obama’s approach shot landed short of the green. He putted it on, then missed his putt from the green about 2 feet left of the hole before taking a "gimmee".
Max Key did manage to sink his putt, according to an Associated Press report.
AP says the President gave John Key's son a high-five and quipped, "He's doing it in front of the cameras, too."
The President and the Prime Minister pulled up to the second hole in a golf buggy. The President was at the steering wheel.