IT was only a matter of time before noted golf obsessive President Donald Trump publicly congratulated Tiger Woods for his comeback Masters win on Sunday.
He got around to it on Monday afternoon, but it was a lot more than just a run-of-the-mill “great job, champ!”
Along with his congrats, Trump tweeted that he will be giving Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom for “his incredible Success and Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”
Only three golfers have ever been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Charles Sifford. George W. Bush gave it to Palmer in 2004 and Nicklaus in 2005. Barack Obama gave it to Sifford in 2014. Palmer received his award in his mid 70s, and Nicklaus in his mid 60s; both are widely considered to be two of the greatest golfers of all time. Sifford was the first African American to play on the PGA Tour, and has been called the Jackie Robinson of professional golf. He received his medal the year before he died at age 92.
Woods is 43, and despite his physical issues over the past several years, does not appear close to retiring. His comeback win on Sunday was certainly monumental, but he has not yet beaten Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major tournament wins (though his fifth Masters win brought him within three of tying that mark). Woods has done a lot to come back from a number of low points in his life, but some of those — like cheating on his now ex-wife and being arrested for driving under the influence — were self-inflicted.
Trump and Woods have known each other for several years. They have gone golfing together and had dinner together numerous times. Woods has continually avoided commenting on Trump’s policies and beliefs, something which Trump has applauded him for in the past.