Tiger Woods’ wildly successful golf career has won him a variety of coveted prizes. He’s won 81 Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) championships. Woods recently won his 5th green jacket – and the hefty cash prize of $2.07 million – by coming from behind to win the April 14 Masters Tournament.
These prizes all are to be expected of a man considered to be one of the best golfers of all time. A prize a little less predictable? The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Donald Trump tweeted on his personal Twitter – and then retweeted using the official POTUS account – that he planned to award Tiger Woods just that.
Trump gave Woods the award May 6. Woods’ children and mother were in attendance.
“The age of Tiger gave us moments that will live forever in sporting lore,” Trump said. Trump applauded Tiger’s comeback and in remarks similar to his tweet, congratulating him on an “amazing life.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the most prestigious award a citizen of the United States can be given. The awards were started by President John F Kennedy in 1963 as a way to honor civilian service.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way,” Former President Barack Obama said of the award.
Woods is the 33rd athlete and 4th golfer to win the award. This is the 8th Medal of Freedom that Trump has awarded throughout his presidency. Former President Barack Obama honored 123 individuals.
Despite this award, Woods has not alway been the model U.S. citizen. Several controversies have revolved around the professional golfer.
In 2017 Woods was arrested for driving under the influence of five different drugs – including pain killers, sleep aids and an ingredient usually found in marijuana.
This came eight years after the cheating fiasco that started with Woods’ wife, Elin, learning that her husband was having an affair – a revelation that lead to Woods crashing his Escalade into a fire hydrant – and ended with Woods in therapy for a sex addiction after 15 different mistresses were identified.
Yet, Woods also has done an admirable amount of charity work. The Tiger Woods Foundation works with minorities, first-generation college students and kids at or below the poverty line to provide educational opportunities and encourage higher education. The foundation has four out of four stars on Charity Navigator.
Woods self-identifies as “Cablinasian” – a mix of Caucasian, Black, American Indian and Asian – which means that Woods stands out in the predominantly white sport of golf.
Woods has been an inspiration for children who might not feel like they look like the traditional golfer to try out the sport.
Woods has been no stranger to controversy – but neither has the President. The two both share a love of golf and will now share the rare memory of the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony.