Tiger Woods poses with the Gene Sarazen Cup and Donald Trump after winning the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at TPC Blue Monster at Doral on March 10, 2013, in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By Christopher Powers
Following his historic win at the 83rd Masters, the tributes to Tiger Woods poured in on social media. Name a famous figure, any figure, and they likely sent out a tweet in congratulations of the now 15-time major winner. Movie stars, television stars, sports stars, fellow golfers and political figures were all watching in awe like the rest of us, and, as Francesco Molinari and co. learned the hard way, everyone was pulling for Woods. That includes former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump, who were each moved enough by Woods’ epic comeback to tweet him congrats. Apparently, we can all get along in 2019, all it takes is the guy who wears red and black to don another green jacket.
Trump was so moved, in fact, that he’s decided to award Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, tweeting out on Monday afternoon that he had just spoken to Woods over the phone to congratulate him and inform him of the news:
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
This makes Woods the 33rd sports figure who will receive the award, but only the fourth golfer. Arnold Palmer was the first to receive it from George W. Bush in 2004, and Jack Nicklaus received it a year later. In 2009, Barack Obama presented it to Charlie Sifford, the first African American golfer to ever play on the PGA Tour. Woods has stated in the past that Sifford, who passed away in 2015, paved the way for his career. It’s fitting then that Woods, who was the first African American to win the Masters in 1997, will be the next golfer after Sifford to receive the medal, with the news breaking a day after his fifth Masters’ victory.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom, first established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, is given to those 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”.