Tiger Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom From President Trump
One year ago from now, it would have seemed unthinkable we would at this point right now. A year ago, Tiger Woods was playing in the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, California. He had 12 bogeys, 15 pars, and a double. He was low on that leaderboard but now a year later, Tiger has come roaring back with his victory at the 2019 Masters Tournament at August National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 14. He was playing from behind much of this time with Francesco Molinari of Italy putting Woods two behind him.
Woods was able to shoot two-under-par 70 on Sunday and finished at 13-under 275. During the week, Woods trailed by four after opening with 70. He found himself behind after a second-round of 68. He was behind by two shots after he closed the third round with 67. Woods was able to maintain 22 birdies throughout and hit 58 out of 72 greens. Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele both had 68s while Brooks Koepka had 70. Molinari, 74 with double bogeys on holes 12 and 15, tied for fifth with Jason Day, 67, Webb Simpson, 70, and Tony Finau, 72 at 11-under.
On Monday, May 6, Tiger’s life changed forever once more. President Donald J. Trump gave Tiger the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington, D.C. at the White House Rose Garden. Surrounded by his Kultida, his mother; Charlie and Sam, his children; Erica Herman, his girlfriend; and Joe LaCava, his caddie, Woods talked about the experience of receiving this medal and reflected on his life.
“This has been an unbelievable experience,” Woods said. “I’ve battled. I’ve tried to hang in there. I’ve tried to come back and play the great game of golf again. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do it again. I’ve found a game that’s allowed me to do it. The amazing Masters experience 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.”
President Trump also had some few choice words to say about Tiger and the legacy he leaves not only on the golf course but in America and life too.
“This evening, 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; a great guy…… Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive.” He said that Woods was able to fight his way back through all of the struggles he faced in his own life, calling the Augusta victory, “one of the most incredible comebacks that golf, or any sport, has ever seen.”
“Tiger, we are inspired by everything you’ve become and attained,” Trump said. “The job you’ve done is incredible – 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.”
This was not a soccer ball clock that Woods was receiving. It was the Presidential Medal of Freedom and something others like him have received such as Charlie Sifford in 2014, Jack Nicklaus in 2005, and Arnold Palmer in 2004. Woods said that Sifford was like the grandfather he did not ever have.
“I became so close with him [Sifford] I named my son Charlie after him, so to be chosen as the next golfer after Charlie (to receive the honor) is truly remarkable,” Woods stated. Nicklaus also tweeted out about Woods’ receiving this award.
Heartfelt congrats to @TigerWoods on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this evening! His impact on golf and his ability to inspire others to play this great game is on par with his incredible talent!
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) May 6, 2019
I am confident Arnold Palmer and Charlie Sifford would have agreed that this was one of most humbling honors in our blessed lives.
Tiger, welcome to this unique golf foursome. 👏🏼👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/ZASD1MuTj0
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) May 6, 2019
As a fan of Woods, it is great to see him gain this recognition after the tumultuous events of the past many years in his life. He might even wish to buy his son a soccer ball clock. While he is not a perfect person by any means and has faced many challenges he brought upon himself, it’s truly something to see a man go out there and repair his life and reputation. Not everyone will be on Tiger’s team because of the aforementioned events that have been reported on endlessly by the media but this is truly, as many said, one of the greatest comebacks not only in golf but sports generally. We will probably never see something like this again in the world of golf. Here’s to you, Mr. Woods!
About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, consumer electronics, and the entertainment industry.