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Donald Trump Awards Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom


(People.com):

Tiger Woods has officially added another award to his mantel.

On Monday, President Donald Trump awarded the legendary golfer, who recently secured his fifth Masters Tournament win, with Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The medal — which is the nation’s highest civilian honor — is given to people who show “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.

In his speech, Trump, 72, commended Woods, 43, for his talents on and off the green — something he could personally attest to.

The pair have been friends for quite some time (long before Trump took the Oath of Office) meeting first as business partners before continuing their friendship and going golfing together.

RELATED: Tiger Woods Will Be Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump Next Week

Speaking to Woods’ athleticism, the president referred to him as “one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports,” “a global symbol of American excellence,” and a “true legend.”

He then touched upon Woods’ previous injuries and surgeries, noting how the golfer had “inspired millions of young” from his “relentless will to win” and remarkable career, including his dramatic — and victorious — comeback at the Masters in mid-April.

Trump also praised Woods for being “a great person great guy,” who has spent a considerable amount of time off the green as a “devoted philanthropist” giving back.

RELATED: Tiger Woods ‘Thinks About His Sex Scandal Every Day,’ Says Source

After presenting the honor to Woods, the golfer got emotional as he thanked his family and friends for their support through “the good and the bad, the highs and the lows” — seemingly a nod to the sex scandal that rocked his personal life and career in 2009.

“This has been an unbelievable experience,” he told the crowd, which included his mother Kutilda, 75; daughter Sam Alexis, 11; son Charlie Axel, 10; girlfriend Erica Herman, 43, and longtime caddie, Joe LaCava.

Woods also made sure to tell his mother and two children that he loved them before wrapping up his speech and taking photos with the Trump family.

Trump announced that he would be giving Woods the honor on April 15.

After the golfer took home the green jacket at the Masters last month — earning his first major win in 11 years and simultaneously pulling one of the most improbable career comebacks in recent history — he was congratulated by the president on Twitter.

In Trump’s celebratory tweet, he also revealed his plans to present the golfer with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Spoke to Tiger Woods to congratulate him on the great victory he had in yesterday’s at The Masters, and 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!” Trump tweeted a day after the Woods’ tournament win.

It was not the first time that Trump has bestowed the medal upon an athlete either. Besides Woods, Trump has awarded Alan Page, Roger Staubach, and a posthumous presentation for Babe Ruth with the medal during his time in office.

RELATED: Inside Tiger Woods’ Decade of Ups and Downs Before His Unbelievable Fifth Masters Win

In August, Woods briefly opened up about his friendship with Trump.

“Well, I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods said at the time, according to ASAP Sports. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”

While Trump’s views on immigration and race relations have been a constant source of controversy, when he was asked about what people of color and immigrants may think of his friendship with the president, Woods simply said they should “respect” the former businessman.

“He’s the President of the United States,” Woods said. “You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

RELATED: Tiger Woods Wins the Masters, Securing His First Major Title in 11 Years

Trump and Woods played golf together just weeks after the 2016 election, and the two once again shared a game during Thanksgiving last year.

“ most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old,” Woods said of Trump on his website, as spotted by the Washington Post. “He takes a pretty good lash.”

Trump has never been shy about hiding his love for the sport and has spent some 150 days of his more than 580 days as president at a golf club. He also owns 17 golf courses in the United States and overseas.

Woods has a villa named after him at Trump’s Miami resort, according to ESPN.

(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is People.com auto-generated from a RSS feed.)

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