Tiger Woods received his country’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from US President Donald Trump on Monday.
The 43-year-old stunned the sporting world when he captured his fifth Masters title – and 15th major overall – last month, ending an 11-year major title drought in the process.
Woods appeared very emotional at times during the ceremony at the Rose Garden, particularly when President Trump mentioned his family and listed the many milestones of his career.
Among those in attendance were First Lady Melania Trump, vice president Mike Pence, Senator Mitt Romney, Woods’ mother Kutilda, his son Charlie, his daughter Sam, his girlfriend Erica Herman and and his caddie Joe LaCava.
After President Trump placed the medal around his neck, Woods thanked those in attendance at the White House ceremony for their support throughout the years.
“This has been an unbelievable experience,” he said.
“You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without all of your help.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 6, 2019
Woods recalled his first major victory at Augusta 22 years ago as a 21-year-old, a triumph he was able to celebrate with his father Earl, who died in 2006.
“In ’97, yes, I won the Masters and I ended up hugging my dad and my mom,” he said.
“My dad is no longer here but my mom is here, I love you mom,” added a visibly emotional Woods, who went on to thank his two children and girlfriend Erica Herman.
“The amazing Masters experience I just had a few weeks ago certainly is part of the highlight of what I’ve accomplished in my life on the golf course.”
Woods later tweeted: “It’s an incredible privilege to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Considering the recipients, history, and what this means to me and my family, it’s also very humbling. Thank you all for your support and I hope this inspires others to never give up on their dreams.”
It’s an incredible privilege to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Considering the recipients, history, and what this means to me and my family, it’s also very humbling. Thank you all for your support and I hope this inspires others to never give up on their dreams. pic.twitter.com/33CJIHwQvz
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 7, 2019
President Trump called Woods “one of the greatest athletes in all of sports… a true legend,” before praising him for helping to introduce so many to the game.
“It was in 1997 at Augusta National, Bobby Jones’ temple to the sport of golf, that the game would forever change,” Trump said. “For four straight days at the Masters tournament, Tiger stunned the world with his power, grace and strategic brilliance.
“We can’t wait to see what’s next Tiger,” the president added. “There are no winners like you.”
Woods joins Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Charlie Sifford, the first African American to play on the PGA Tour, as the only golfers to have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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