Tiger Woods receives Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump
“This evening we are in the presence of a true legend, an extraordinary athlete who has transformed golf and who has achieved new levels of dominance,” Trump said.
“Tiger introduced countless new people to the sport of golf, from every background and from every walk of life. He inspired millions of young Americans with his thrilling wire-to-wire victories,” Trump continued. “Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive.”
The Medal of Freedom recognizes 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 endeavours,” according to the executive order designating the award.
On April 15, the day after Woods won his fifth Masters title, Trump tweeted his intent to award the golfer with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“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!” Trump wrote.
Woods accepted the award while members of his family and his caddie Joe LaCava watched.
“This has been an unbelievable experience, and to have the support that I’ve had all of these years and everyone here that has seen and been with me, some of you for my entire life, and some of you for more than half of my life,” he said. “You’ve seen the good and bad, the highs and the lows and I would not be in this position without all of your help.”
“I’ve battled,” he continued. “I’ve tried to hang in there and come back and play the great game of golf again and I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to do it again and I’ve found a game that has allowed me to do this. And the amazing Masters experience that I just had a few weeks ago certainly is probably the highlight of what I’ve accomplished so far in my life on the golf course.”
Since joining the PGA tour in 1996, Woods has recorded both the second most professional victories with 81, and the second most major championships with 15, including five Masters, three U.S. Opens, three open championships and four PGA championships.
In 1997, Woods had a record-setting year, becoming the youngest person and first African American to win the Masters.
Woods is not the first athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump. In 2018, Trump awarded the medal to football players Alan Page and Roger Staubach and a posthumous medal to baseball legend Babe Ruth.
Woods is also not the first golfer to receive the Medal of Freedom. George W. Bush awarded the medal to golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in 2004 and 2005, respectively. In 2014, golfer Charles Sifford received the award from Barack Obama.
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