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President Donald Trump awarded golfer Tiger Woods the nation’s highest civilian honor on Monday, describing the 43-year-old as a “true legend” who transformed golf and then fought through years of injury to return to the sport’s summit.
Trump awarded Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He’s the fourth golfer to earn that distinction and certainly the youngest. While Woods dominated the sport for more than a decade, he won his first major in nearly 11 years at last month’s Masters Tournament, a comeback that captivated the sporting world.
“Tiger was back on top,” Trump declared during the Rose Garden ceremony.
If there were a Mount Rushmore for golfers, Woods would almost certainly be on it. He ranks second in PGA Tour wins and in major tournament victories. But the president’s decision to award the nation’s highest civilian honor to Woods also raised scrutiny about whether the president should be boosting the profile of a business associate of The Trump Organization.
Trump understood the importance of Woods comeback to golf and its fans, tweeting shortly after the Masters win that he was awarding Woods the medal because of his “incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”