ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (AP) — If President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin want some extra quality time together at the Group of 8 meeting, they don't have to go far.
The U.S. cottage at the Lough Erne resort where the summit is being held is just a few yards from the Russian cottage, the closest U.S. neighbor of all the G-8 delegations.
Upon arrival, Obama stepped out of his limousine and wandered over toward a cottage bearing the Russian flag. The cottages overlook a picturesque lake, and Obama took in the sight, chatted with resort staff then returned to his own cottage.
The proximity is all the more remarkable given the tension over how to deal with Syria between the two leaders, who were meeting on the sidelines of the summit Monday evening. Obama just announced the U.S. will supply military support to Syrian rebels fighting in a civil war. Russia has been supplying arms to the regime of Bashar Assad.
It's not easy to separate Obama from the golf links, even if the clubs had to stay back in Washington.
The longing to play, though, is palpable.
Obama and other G-8 leaders are meeting at a 5-star golf resort but Obama's schedule will keep him from the course designed by Nick Faldo that is a favorite of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.
"I am unhappy that I will not get a few rounds in while I'm here," Obama said Monday in a speech in Belfast.
"I did meet Rory McIlroy last year and Rory offered to get my swing 'sorted,'" he added to laughter, " which was a polite way of saying, 'Mr. President, you need help.'"
But if he couldn't get any swings in, Obama at least got to set foot on the course. Flying in from Belfast on Marine One, Obama landed on the fairway of the 14th hole, the rotors of his helicopter kicking up sand from a nearby bunker.
Presidential daughters Malia and Sasha got a chance to explore their Irish roots in a visit to Dublin Monday and picked up certificates of their heritage from a distant cousin.
First lady Michelle Obama took Malia, 14, and Sasha, 12, to the 18th century Old Library at Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university, where they peered at the birth registry of their ancestors on their father's side and maps detailing the family's homestead. Obama's great-great-great grandfather once lived and worked as a shoemaker in the small central Irish village of Moneygall, which the president and first lady visited two years ago.
"We've been eager for a chance to return to the Emerald Isle ever since — and this time, we brought our daughters, too," Obama said during a speech earlier in the day in Belfast.
Henry Healy, who the president joked was known as Henry the Eighth because he's his eighth cousin, presented the first lady and the two Obama daughters with certificates of Irish heritage during their stop in Dublin.
"Both of them were pretty amazed with the certificates," Healy said. "Competing with their friends, now they can prove they're more Irish than them."
They've played ping pong together. They've watched basketball. They've kept an eye on the European Champions' League soccer final last year during the G-8 meeting in Camp David. No doubt, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron like a good competition.
So on Monday, a visit to a local primary school resulted in yet another match — which world leader could first fill in a letter on a G-8 painting the students were working on.
The site was Enniskillen Integrated Primary School, the only Protestant-Catholic primary school in County Fermanagh, set up in the wake of a 1987 Provisional Irish Republican Army bombing in town that killed 11 and injured 63. Only 6 percent of Northern Ireland's schools are integrated, and Obama called for more mixed-faith education in a speech earlier in the day.
The president joked with the prime minister as they painted with their sleeves rolled up, "Do you think you can handle this, David?"
Obama chatted with the students as they worked, while Cameron made headway. Soon, Cameron was finished and the teacher called out, "Three cheers for the prime minister. Hip, hip, hooray."
Obama replied, "Now I feel bad. I didn't realize David was going to move so fast."
Obama refused to admit defeat, insisting: "I'm not as good as these guys, but I'm better than David."