President Trump awarded Tiger Woods, the resurgent golf legend — and his friend — with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday.
During a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, Trump laced the medal around the neck of Woods, 43, arguably one of pro golf’s most celebrated players, ABC News reported. Woods has taken home more prize money than any other competitor in the history of the sport, according to the network. In fact, he’s earned more than $118 million in prizes since going pro 23 years ago when he was 20.
Trump hailed Woods, who has been criticized for his friendly relationship with the president, as a “true legend” and “an extraordinary athlete who has transformed golf and achieved new levels of dominance.”
“He’s also a great person; he’s a great guy,” the president said. “Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive.”
Trump watched Woods win the 2019 Masters tournament on April 14 and tweeted that he would be presenting the golfer with the award because of his “incredible success” in the world of golf and in life.
Woods is the fourth golfer to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to ABC News. Woods has won 81 PGA tournament titles, 15 majors among them.
In awarding Woods the recognition, Trump also made reference to the golfer’s foundation that offers learning programs to junior athletes and also a learning lab that supports young people pursuing STEM careers.
“In addition to his incredible career, Tiger is a successful entrepreneur, to put it mildly, and a devoted philanthropist,” the president said. “Tiger, we are inspired by everything you’ve become and attained. 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.”
Woods acknowledged his loved ones as he received the medal.
“This has been an unbelievable experience,” Woods said. “You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without all of your help.”
“This is an honor,” he added.