On Sunday, Tiger Woods completed an unlikely comeback at the Masters in Augusta, winning his first major championship in 11 years. The championship win was his first since the sex scandal that plagued him from 2009 onward, a period of turmoil that was followed by a series of injuries.
Now, the golf great is looking at another honor, one from the president of the United States.
Woods will receive the presidential medal of freedom from President Trump, the president announced via Twitter on Monday.
In a tweet with strange capitalizations, Trump said that “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 and Woods have been known to golf together, most recently in February, per The Hill. The president reportedly asked the golfer for his thoughts on tax reform legislation. Trump also declared that “Tiger is back and will be winning majors again.” The two golfed with Jack Nicklaus, the only golfer in history with more major championships than Woods.
Woods also once golfed with President Barack Obama, with the estimated cost of the trip becoming a minor scandal amongst conservative media outlets in 2013, per Snopes.
The 43-year-old Woods became the world’s most dominant golfer at a young age, winning his first major championship at the Masters in 1997. Woods went on to win a total of 15 majors, which puts him just three behind Nicklaus. Woods’ rise also led to an explosion in the popularity of golf itself, and the construction of numerous new courses.
However, Woods’ career underwent a sudden collapse following a bizarre incident in 2009. Woods crashed his car near his home in Florida, following tabloid reports that he’d had an extramarital affair. Soon after, revelations were made about Woods’ affairs with numerous women, leading to a divorce from his wife — Elin Nordegren — in 2010.
Trump says he's giving Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom https://t.co/1hWI6Jbw40
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) April 15, 2019
The scandal cost Woods endorsements, and soon after, his career began to decline. This process was exacerbated due to various injuries that he had suffered. Woods was also arrested for driving under the influence in 2017, although he claimed to have taken prescription drugs. He went on to plead guilty to reckless driving.
Past recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Trump’s tenure have included retired Senator Orrin Hatch and philanthropist Miriam Adelson, wife to Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were all named recipients of the award, posthumously.