On Monday night in the White House’s Rose Garden, Tiger Woods became just the fourth golfer ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.
Introduced and presented the medal by President Donald Trump, Woods was flanked by family and friends, including his mother, his children, his girlfriend and his caddie.
“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; he’s a great guy. Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive.”
“Tiger fought through the terrible pain and he fought all the way back to the summit of golf, What happened (at Augusta) was one of most incredible comebacks that golf or any sport has ever seen.
“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; that’s what he does.”
“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 of enough to have had the opportunity to do it again. The amazing Masters experience I had a few weeks ago was certainly the highlight of what I’ve accomplished so far in my life on the golf course.”
It’s an incredible privilege to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Considering the recipients, history, and what this means to me and my family, it’s also very humbling. Thank you all for your support and I hope this inspires others to never give up on their dreams. pic.twitter.com/33CJIHwQvz
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 7, 2019
Woods thanked his family and friends by name, as well as mentioning the four golfers who have received the medal before him, including the man he used to call “the grandpa he never had,” Charlie Sifford.
“To have been chosen as the next golfer after Charlie is truly remarkable,” Woods said.
John F. Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, and is given to men and women who “have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House’s website.