President Trump presented Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden on Monday.
The president announced his intention to do so after Woods won the Masters Tournament last month, capping a remarkable recovery from injury and years of personal troubles that had left some wondering whether he would ever win again at the professional level.
This medal, which Woods received from President Donald Trump, "Recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". He becomes the fourth golfer to receive the award, joining Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Charlie Sifford.
He grew emotional while telling his mother he loved her and thanking his children, Samantha and Charlie, for their support.
Other athletes to receive the honor include Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.
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For his part, Woods defended his friendly relationship with the President, saying he respects the office.
Trump, an avid golfer, owns courses across the world and frequently hits the links, playing most recently this Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.
Established by John F. Kennedy in 1963, the honour is bestowed upon those who have made an "especially meritorious" contribution to U.S. security or national interests, world peace, cultural pursuits or other non-specified endeavours. But Mr. Trump waited only a few weeks after the Masters to celebrate Mr. Woods.
Some in the mainstream media, which has spent years accusing Trump of corruption, being an agent of the Kremlin, or both, now insinuated that some kind of money-making scheme was behind the president's decision to decorate Woods. In 2014, Woods and the Trump Organization renewed plans for Woods to design a golf course in Dubai, though the project is still underway and expected to open at the end of the year. The past 11 years has been extremely hard for Woods. "Having my family by my side today is something I will never forget", Woods tweeted that day with a photo of his fifth Masters green jacket. "We've played golf together".
"He's the President of the United States", Woods said. "You have to respect the office", he said. We've had dinner together.
Woods was asked past year about his relationship with Trump, who has been engaged in an ongoing feud with a number of African-American basketball and football stars.