President Donald Trump awarded Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday, just 22 days after the world-renowned golfer won the Masters tournement for the fifth time.
“We are in the presence of a true legend, an extraordinary athlete who has transformed golf and achieved new levels of dominance,” Trump said. “He’s also a great person. He’s a great guy.”
The medal ceremony took place in the Rose Garden at the White House as both men exited the Oval Office wearing red ties.
The president detailed Woods’ lengthy golfing career, describing specific moments in great detail and celebrated his achievements.
“Tiger, we are inspired by everything you have become and attained, the job you have done is incredible, your spectacular achievements on the golf course, your triumph over physical adversity, and your relentless will to win, win, win,” Trump said.
Sports analysts described Woods’ victory as the greatest comeback in the history of sports, winning the 2019 tournament again after suffering numerous setbacks to his golfing career, including four knee surgeries and four back surgeries.
Woods thanked all of the people in his life who supported his career, even at the low points.
I have battled, I have tried to hang in there, and I have tried to come back and play the great game of golf again,” he said, calling his Masters win in April the “highlight of what I have accomplished so far in my life on the golf course.”
Woods thanked the president for the honor, noting that he was the fourth golfer to receive the medal of freedom, following Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Charlie Sifford.
Several prominent administration officials and members of Congress attended the event, including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Eric Trump, Senior adviser Jared Kushner, and Senators Lindsay Graham, Marsha Blackburn, Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Mitt Romney, John Barrasso, and Rand Paul. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Reps. Mark Meadows, and Matt Gaetz were also spotted in the crowd.
Trump has a long-standing personal and business relationship with Woods and has golfed with him at his courses in Florida since becoming president.
“He’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office,” Woods said. “No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”