- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2019

President Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom Monday night to golfing legend — and presidential golfing buddy — Tiger Woods, calling him “a global symbol of American excellence.”

With the golfer’s family, friends and a bipartisan smattering of lawmakers in attendance in the White House Rose Garden, the president bestowed the nation’s highest civilian honor on Mr. Woods, 43, who has won 81 PGA titles and 15 majors.

“We are in the presence of a true legend,” the president said, recounting some of the golfer’s greatest shots and triumphs. “He’s also a great person.”

Turning to Mr. Woods, the president said, “There are no winners like you.”

Mr. Woods won his first Masters tournament at age 21, in 1997, and seemed destined to break all golfing records with ease as he dominated play for a decade. But several major injuries and an infidelity scandal sidelined his career for several years, until he mounted a spectacular comeback by winning the Masters tournament again last month.

“This is an honor,” Mr. Woods told the audience at the White House. “You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. This has been an unbelievable experience.”

Presidents can award the Medal of Freedom to any person, living or dead, who has made “an especially meritorious contribution” to the security or national interest of the U.S., world peace, or to a significant public or private endeavor.

Mr. Woods is the fourth golfer to be awarded the medal. Jack Nicklaus was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2005 by President George W. Bush, who also bestowed the award to Arnold Palmer in 2004.

Charles Sifford, the first African American to play on the PGA Tour, was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2014 by President Barack Obama. Mr. Woods called Mr. Sifford “the grandpa I never had.”

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