After Tiger Woods won the Masters, Donald Trump tweeted that he planned on honoring the golfer with the Presidental Medal of Freedom. Why is Woods receiving the award? Trump tweeted his rationale on April 15th.
“Spoke to @TigerWoods to congratulate him on the great victory he had in yesterday’s @TheMasters, & to inform him that because of his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE, I will be presenting him with the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM!” Trump tweeted.
The award was initially established by John F. Kennedy in 1963, per Yahoo Sports.
Established by John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is bestowed upon those who have made an “especially meritorious” contribution to US security or national interests, world peace, cultural pursuits or other non-specified endeavors.
It has been awarded to nearly three dozen sports figures including golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, honored by president George W. Bush.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders noted that the event is invitation only and will be held at the White House Rose Garden.
“President Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to world-renowned golfer Tiger Woods on Monday, May 6 in the White House Rose Garden,” Sanders said, per USA Today. “The event will be invitation only and covered by the press.”
Tiger Woods Turned Down an Event Invite From Bill Clinton After the 1997 Masters
Woods has gone out of his way to avoid political statements. While Woods has been open about his relationship with Trump, he has also golfed with Barack Obama.
The Daily Beast detailed an anecdote from Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian’s book Tiger Woods on how he turned down an event with Bill Clinton after winning the 1997 Masters.
Clinton invited Tiger to participate in a celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball that would be taking place during a Dodgers/Mets row at Shea Stadium later that week. Jackie Robinson’s widow would be there and everything. Clinton offered to send Air Force One to pick him up…
He opted out of the ceremony and the ride in Air Force One, citing previous plans—he had an opening to attend at an Official All Star Café franchise and a vacation in Cancun with some Stanford friends—and the last-minute nature of the invitation.
Jeff Norton, his manager, trying to do damage control, told the press that “There’s no bigger hero to anybody than Jackie Robinson is to Tiger Woods, but the president’s request would have required Tiger being in Mexico on Wednesday noon instead of Tuesday morning.”
Woods relationship with Trump dates back to before his presidency. According to Bloomberg, Woods and Trump are teaming up to design a golf course in Dubai.
Woods, one of the most celebrated golfers in history, designed Trump World Golf Club in Dubai through his company, TGR Design. The Trump Organization will operate the course owned by Damac Properties Dubai Co. when it’s scheduled to open later this year.
Trump’s ventures in Dubai, where he licensed use of his name for various projects, have netted him millions in recent years, according to his financial disclosures. “We will be doing something very special,” Trump said in 2014 when Damac announced its tie-up with Woods and the Trump Organization.
CNN detailed the executive order as to what a Medal of Freedom is designated to recognize.
The Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the executive order designating the award.