President Trump awarded Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House’s Rose Garden on Monday.
The honor is the nation’s highest for civilians, given at the president’s discretion to those who contribute to world peace, US national interests, or American culture. Woods is the first active athlete among 33 total to receive the award since its 1963 inception.
In a long speech, Trump explained his choice by citing Tiger’s golf accomplishments, personal and professional comebacks, and philanthropic involvement.
The two have long been golf buddies and have even gone into business together: Woods’ TGR Design company was enlisted to create the course at the Trump World Golf Club location in Dubai, set to open later this year.
The Medal of Freedom going to a president’s friends or political allies is nothing new. President Obama awarded the honor to Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Barbara Streisand, all Democratic activists and/or major donors to his campaign.
If nothing else, the award shows what kind of achievements and character the standing President values most. Objectors to Tigers’ recognition point cite the golfer’s public affair and divorce, something President Trump is evidently more than willing to look past.
Since becoming President, Trump’s other picks have been Elvis Presley, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, philanthropist Miriam Adelson, Senator Orrin Hatch, and athletes Babe Ruth, Roger Staubach, and Alan Page.