The White House said cameras weren't allowed at the exclusive Floridian Yacht and Golf Club in Palm City Sunday because it is a private golf course, NBC reported.
Word got out when a golf reporter sent out a tweet and the press group complained to the administration about the lack of transparency for its pool reporters, the network said.
The scoop went to Golf Digest reporter Tim Rosaforte, who tweeted: "The President is arriving at The Floridian range. Awaiting is Tiger Woods and club owner Jim Crane. Historic day in golf. Their first round."
Almost 3 hours went by before the president's staff confirmed Obama was playing with Woods, who experienced a fall from grace, and the top of the world rankings, when his extramarital sex became an international scandal in 2009.
The reporters who made up the press pool Sunday were not shuttled to the resort for another 2 1/2 hours after that and were kept well away from the president and his golf partner.
"I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the president of the United States this entire weekend," Ed Henry, president of the White House Press Corps Association, wrote in his complaint. "There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency."
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said the press access was "entirely consistent" with that afforded during previous presidential golf outings.