Tiger Woods got emotional as he made history by becoming the first active athlete to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The professional golfer attended a ceremony at the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday evening (May 6), where President Donald Trump gave him the prestigious award.
Trump spoke highly of Woods, who as well as being a Masters champion is the president’s golfing buddy.
He called the golfer one of ‘one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports’, and said he has inspired people worldwide with his barrier-breaking victories, capped by a comeback at the 2019 Masters tournament.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 6, 2019
The POTUS added:
He’s also a great person. He’s a great guy.
He inspired millions of young Americans with his thrilling wire-to-wire victories. Tiger Woods is a global symbol of american excellence, devotion, and drive.
Donald Trump awards Tiger Woods highest civilian award
— EconomicTimes (@EconomicTimes) May 7, 2019
Before his triumphant return this year, Woods celebrated his last major win 11 years ago at the 2008 US Open. He is the first African-American to win the Masters, and the youngest golfer to take the title.
The 43-year-old is the first active athlete among the 33 from the sports world to earn the medal, which is considered the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Trump spoke highly of Woods for around 15 minutes, praising his professional and philanthropic accomplishments. According to USA Today, the president offered a rundown of Woods’ golf biography, and detailed his medical comeback from various setbacks.
Trump went on:
It was in 1997 at Augusta National, Bobby Jones’ temple to the sport of golf, that the game would forever change. For four straight days at the Masters tournament, Tiger stunned the world with his power, grace and strategic brilliance.
Tiger, we are inspired by everything you’ve become and attained.
Congratulations again on your amazing comeback and your amazing life and for giving sports fans everywhere a lifetime of memories.
We can’t wait to see what’s next Tiger. It’s going to be good. We know that, it’s going to be good, because there are no winners like you.
The emotional award winner also took to the podium, where he received a standing ovation.
He spoke about his late father, and told the audience:
You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without all your help. I’ve battled, I try to hang in there, and I’ve tried to come back and play the great game of golf again.
He called the experience ‘unbelievable’, and later took to Instagram to express his gratitude.
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.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.