The president gave the nation's highest civilian honor to his friend on Monday, May 6, at the White House Rose Garden.
President Donald Trump conferred the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfer Tiger Woods. The ceremony happened in the White House Rose Garden on the evening of May 6, Monday. Trump, who shares a long-standing friendship with the athlete, hailed Woods as a "global symbol of American excellence."
The president, noting Woods' 2019 Masters win, said, "Congratulations again on your amazing comeback and your amazing life and for giving sports fans everywhere a lifetime of memories." As per NPR, he also added, "Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion, and drive. These qualities embody the American spirit of pushing boundaries, defying limits and always striving for greatness."
CNN reported that he also mentioned that Woods' run leading to the win broke television records that day. Woods, who received a standing ovation when he stood up to speak, said, "This has been an unbelievable experience." He thanked his family, personal friends, and aides in brief. "You've seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without all of your help." Woods' mother and two children were present for the ceremony.
It’s an incredible privilege to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Considering the recipients, history, and what this means to me and my family, it’s also very humbling. Thank you all for your support and I hope this inspires others to never give up on their dreams. pic.twitter.com/33CJIHwQvz— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 7, 2019
Trump and Woods have been friends for a long time now. On 15 April, in a tweet, Trump congratulated the golfer on the win and his comeback and announced that he would be giving him the award.
Spoke to @TigerWoods to congratulate him on the great victory he had in yesterday’s @TheMasters, & to inform him that because of his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE, I will be presenting him with the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
Woods' victory marked his first Masters victory in 14 years after a series of back problems and personal problems that threatened to end his career. Woods' career was going through a serious slump following his divorce to former Swedish model Elin Nordegren and the scandal in late 2009 and early 2010. The divorce resulted in an estimated loss of $20 million in endorsements after sponsors including Gatorade, AT&T, and Accenture cut ties. He also faced a series of losses in 2011 and failed to make the World Golf Ranking's top 50 players list.
The Medal of Freedom is for those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to the executive order designating the award.
Both friends love golf. Trump is an avid golfer and owns courses across the world. He frequently goes to play, most recently this Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. But that's not all they have in common. Both have had spectacular comebacks: Trump from bankruptcy to the presidency; Woods from public shame to winning this year's Masters.
One must note that who receives the Medal of Honor is entirely up to the President. When Trump picked Woods, who at 43 is much younger than the other recipients, it raised many eyebrows since he has business ties to the pro-golfer. Though it needs to be mentioned that since taking up office, Trump has presented the award to numerous athletes, including Alan Page, Roger Staubach, and a posthumous award to Babe Ruth.