Trump honors Tiger with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Less than a month after his historic victory at the Masters, Tiger Woods visited the White House on Monday and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump.

Considered the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom went to a professional golfer for the fourth time. Arnold Palmer (2004) and Jack Nicklaus (2005) received it from then-President George W. Bush. In 2014, President Barack Obama gave it to Charlie Sifford, the first African-American to join the PGA Tour.

Woods on Monday said Sifford was “like the grandpa I never had,” and he named his 10-year-old son Charlie after the golfer who died in 2015.

Saying Woods, who completed a long comeback by winning his fifth Masters title in April, is “a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive,” Trump heaped more praise on him during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

“Tiger, we are inspired by everything you’ve become and attained. The job you’ve done is incredible,” Trump said. “Your spectacular achievements on the golf course, your triumph over physical adversity and your relentless will to win, win, win; these qualities embody the American spirit of pushing boundaries, defying limits and always striving for greatness.”

Woods played a round with President Trump in Jupiter, Fla., in February. As a longtime business associate of the president, Woods designed an 18-hole course in Dubai to be managed by The Trump Organization.

Woods’ mother, girlfriend, children and caddie attended the ceremony, and were recognized by Trump. He also paid tribute to Woods’ late father, Earl, and called him “a very special guy also.”

Woods, 43, has 15 major victories, three shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record, and went more than a decade without winning a major while battling personal issues and injuries. His last victory at Augusta National had come in 2005.

“This has been an unbelievable experience and … everyone here has seen and been with me for them, some of you for my entire life, and some of you for more than half my life,” Woods said. “You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without your help.

“I tried to hang in there and I tried to come back and play the great game of golf again. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to do it again, and … the amazing Masters experience that I just had a few weeks ago is probably the highlight of what I’ve accomplished so far in my life on the golf course.”