“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!” the president tweeted.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award, and is given to people who the commander in chief deems to have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interest of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
The announcement came one day after the 43-year-old golfer won his first Masters in 14 years. It was his first major win in more than a decade, and the victory put him one Masters win behind record holder Jack Nicklaus, who has six wins. The victory also put Woods within range of overtaking Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors; Woods now has 15.
He was previously on track to set a new record, but health struggles and a series of personal issues — including his nasty headline-making 2009 split from wife Elin Nordegren, a stint in rehab for sex addiction, and DUI charge in 2017 — threatened to derail (if not end) his once great career.
After his come-from-behind victory Sunday, the pro golfer thanked his family and friends and reveled in his win on Twitter.
I can’t thank my family, friends and fans enough for their support. Having my family by my side today is something I will never forget. To not only be able to play again, but to be able to win again, is something I will forever be grateful for. This jacket sure is comfortable. pic.twitter.com/LsOUX2dWH1
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 14, 2019
During the Green Jacket ceremony, Woods said that the win was “overwhelming.”
“Last year, I was very lucky to be playing again,” he said. “At the previous Champions Dinner, I was really struggling and missed a couple of years of not playing this great tournament, and now I’m the champion. … It’s unreal for me to experience this. … I’m just so happy and excited, and I’m at a loss for words.”
Other athletes who have previously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, and Bill Russell.