Just one day after winning his fifth Masters Tournament championship in one of the greatest comebacks in golf history, Tiger Woods is set to receive another rare honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Trump tweeted his congratulations for the Masters Tournament victory and announced that he would “be presenting him 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 tweeted Monday afternoon.
After the sport Woods told reporters how he has been friends with Trump for years.
“Well, I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods said. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.
“He’s the president of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”
While it’s a rare honor to be awarded with the nation’s highest civilian honor (only a dozen or less are awarded each year, according to the New York Times), it is rare that an athlete that is being honored receives one while still being active in his or her sport.
Woods’ victory marked his first Masters victory in 14 years, after a series of back problems and personal problems threatened to end his career.
In 2017, he underwent a spinal fusion surgery, and was later arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was put on a diversion program, returning to the circuit in 2018.
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 endeavors,” according to the executive order designating the award.
Trump, an avid golfer, was photographed on the green in Florida with Woods and pro-golfer Jack Nicklaus in February.
Trump has presented the Medal of Freedom to numerous athletes since taking office, including Alan Page, Roger Staubach, and a posthumous award to Babe Ruth.