President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he will present professional golfer — and his sometimes-golfing partner — Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom one day after he won his fifth Masters championship.
Trump said he would put the medal around Woods’ neck not merely for his career on the course, but for his “incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”
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 won his fifth green jacket, which goes to the winner of the annual major championship tournament, by one stroke in dramatic fashion on Sunday after battling personal demons and severe injuries for years. After winning his first major tournament since 2008, Woods was emotional as he shared hugs with his two children and mother just off the 18th green, where he had hugged his late father after winning his first Masters in 1997.
Woods has golfed with Trump since he took office, including a Feb. 2 round at the president’s Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., that also included golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Woods is now just three major tournament wins behind Nicklaus’ record 18.
"This prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the president to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” states a blurb about the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the White House website.
The struggles by Woods included affairs with multiple women that ended his marriage and a DUI arrest. Law enforcement officials in Florida said he had five drugs in his system; the arrest occurred at the same time he was dealing with major back problems that he two years ago told other Masters champions left him to conclude this about his career: “I’m done.”
Despite the golfer’s scandals, Trump will soon give him one of the highest honors in the land. And despite Woods’ personal problems, he remains wildly popular, with those in attendance at Augusta National on Sunday roaring their approval as he closed in on then secured his fifth win there with a bogey put on the 18th green.
Woods will not be the first sports celebrity in recent years to get the honor. Then-President Barack Obama, for instance, gave the award to NBA legend Michael Jordan.