Trump awards Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE on Monday awarded Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom, calling the pro golf legend “a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive.”

Trump, an avid golfer himself, recounted Woods’s storied yet tumultuous career during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden attended by senior administration officials, a handful of senators and members of Woods’s family.

“Your spectacular achievements on the golf course, your triumph over physical adversity and your relentless will to win, win, win — these qualities embody the American spirit,” the president said.

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Woods, 43, received the nation’s highest civilian honor weeks after winning his fifth Masters Tournament, capping off a comeback from injuries, family troubles and problems with drugs that jeopardized his golfing career.

Woods, who is second all-time in major championship and PGA Tour victories, grew emotional when thanking his family after receiving the award.

“You’ve seen the good and bad and the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without your help,” he said.

Trump tweeted last month after Woods's Masters victory that he wanted to bestow the award upon the golfer for “his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”

But Trump’s decision to award Woods the medal drew scrutiny because of the business and personal relationship between the two men.

The golf legend, who wore a white shirt and red tie that matched Trump’s, is designing a golf course at a Trump Organization-managed club in Dubai. Woods celebrated his 1997 Masters victory at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Trump also named a villa at his Doral, Fla., club after the golfer.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to people 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 1963 executive order creating the award.

Like past presidents, Trump has given the award to athletes. Those who have received the award from Trump include legendary baseball player Babe Ruth and football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach.

Woods is the fourth golfer to receive the award, joining Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Charlie Sifford.

Woods said he had a close relationship with Sifford, the first African American to play on the PGA Tour, calling him “grandpa” and even naming his son, Charlie, after him.