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Presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods

Presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods

[Music] [Music] thank you very much please Melania and I are delighted to welcome you to the White House on this beautiful spring evening this is the Rose Garden for those of you that don’t know and we use it seldom but this is one of the times we’re using it Tiger it is my privilege to award our nation’s highest civilian honor to one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports Tiger Woods Tiger congratulations on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom we’re thankful to be joined on this occasion by our great vice president Mike thank you very much members of my cabinet some of our nation’s governors and many distinguished members of the House and the Senate thank you all for being here we’re also pleased to have as where this is Tigers mother Cal Tita his daughter Sam and his son Charlie his girlfriend Erica and his caddy Joe LaCava we’re still the cover stand-up Joey it’s good job good job Wow good job Joe for over five decades the Presidential Medal of Freedom has been given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to American life history and culture this evening we are in the presence of a true legend an extraordinary athlete who has transformed golf and achieved new levels of dominance he’s also a great person he’s a great guy Tiger introduced countless new people to the sport of golf from every background and from every walk of life 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 at just six months old Tiger watched from his hi chair as his dad very special guy also Earl I got to know him a veteran of the Vietnam War and Army Special Forces said he was tough Tiger wasn’t huh but good well I think she might be tougher she might be tougher practiced in the garage of his family home at 18 months Tiger was on the driving range and he was looking good people were saying Wow starting at age 15 he won three successive US Junior Amateur titles and at 18 he became the youngest ever winner of the US Amateur Tournament at 20 he capped off his amateur career with an unrivaled third consecutive title so that would be six in a row and I say that’s a record that can never be broken that’s an incredible stroke play match play everything that will never be broken and in 1996 he burst onto the professional stage as rookie of the year but it was in 1997 at Augusta National Bobby Jones’s 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 he shaped perfect 350 yard drives down Augustus rolling fairways when flag hunting had tucked away pins with the heart-stopping precision like nobody’s ever seen before and he buried one clutch putt after another on that Sunday we saw Tiger crushed the field by a record margin of 12 strokes unheard of with a lower score in masters history 270 at 21 years old he became the youngest Masters champion of all time and the first person of African American or Asian heritage to win the story tournament or any of golf’s four majors as a New York Times headline said the next day Woods tears up a and tears down barriers incredible achievement after clinching the green jacket amazing after clinching the green jacket Tiger marched straight to his first coach is dead and embraced the man who inspired his enduring love of the game then Tiger turned to hug his mom the steady presence throughout his life that’s true I’ve seen that I’ve watched that and the person who told him that red is his power color wow that was a good move I was right in the years that followed Tiger launched one of the single most dominant runs in the history of sports he holds the record for the lowest scoring average in PGA Tour history sixty-eight point seventeen and two thousand and remember he only plays in the hardest tournaments that’s a pretty amazing thing I wonder what would happen if you played 35 a year let’s try a tiger come on that back is in good shape he played a record 142 consecutive PGA events without missing a cut that’s incredible he has a PGA Tour winning percentage of 23% of the events he played a figure that nearly defies comprehension nothing like it at the punishing 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach the entire field shot over par but Tiger finished 12-under the first time in US Open history anyone beat par by double digits he led the field by 15 strokes setting the record for the largest margin of victory in the 150 year history of a major golf tournament that was the most amazing day of golf I’ve ever seen Tigers cumulative stroke total was 29 better than the field average a month later at the British Open at st. Andrews the home of golf Tiger finished 19 under par and eight strokes ahead of the field he then took the 2001 masters becoming the only player in the modern era to win all four major championships in a one-year period a feat known now as the tiger slam Tigers determination and work ethic drove golf to new heights of athletic competition and popularity the age of Tiger gave us moments that will live forever and sporting law such as his unbelievable chip in on the 16th hole at the Masters the shot rolled perfectly along the slope of the green and hung on the edge of the cup for a breathtaking three seconds before finally dropping in we’ve seen that shot many many times in the midst of this success Tiger suffered severe injury in 2008 he entered the US Open with two leg fractures and a torn ACL on the third day at Torrey Pines he was 1 over par after the 12th hole and it really looked like he had no chance then came some of the most riveting scenes in golf history he goes the 13th do you remember that tiger I thought so he’s got a great memory this guy and he remembers the good stuff which is really important not the bad we don’t want to remember we just what you did there was amazing because he chipped in for birdie on the 17th and then eagled the 18th hole all very vivid memories for all of us in the final round on the 72nd hole his ball was buried in very thick rough 101 yards from the pin and he had to get it up and down to keep his US Open hopes alive after hitting a 60-degree wedge to within 15 feet Tiger will the putt in to force a playoff that was a great player with Rocco he fought through the pain and won the dramatic 19-hole playoff on Monday unfortunately two days later Tiger announced that he would be unable to compete the rest of the season due to his injury in the years that followed Tiger endured knee surgery and four excruciating back surgeries I know that you remember – that’s not good but it ended up good including a spinal fusion in 2017 he fell from number one in the world rankings to one thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth I don’t believe that even if he had one leg I don’t believe that that’s got to be the best bet anybody ever made Tiger’s injuries were so profound that for two years he could barely swing a club as Tiger said there was a point in time I didn’t know if I’d ever do this again if he’d ever play again but Tiger fought through the terrible pain and he fought all the way back to the summit of God last year we saw a sign of what was to come when he won the Tour Championship people forget that but he won the Tour Championship last year then just weeks ago the world turned in to the 2019 masters and that was something special what happened next was one of the most incredible comebacks that golf or any sport has ever seen when Saturday tiger shot six birdies for a score of 67 sending him into the final round tied for second place and just two strokes behind the leader and they were looking they were watching they were second oh here we go again in gusting winds on Sunday still behind by two strokes on the 12th Tiger called upon his wisdom and experience to play for par while other players shot and unfortunately they found the water there was a lot of water they found he birdied the par 5 on the 15th to take the lead for the first time in the 2019 masters then on the 16th he shaped a perfect draw and the patrons roared like they can only do frankly at Augusta as the ball rolled to within 5 of the hall tygo is back on top and won his first major in 11 years and that was some major with record-setting television I don’t know if you know about that Tiger record-setting ratings just as he did after sinking his final putt on the 18th Hall all the way back in 1997 he went straight to his loved ones and embraced his kids who were too young to remember the last time he won a major as of today Tiger is 81 PGA Tour victories one behind the all-time record gonna catch that soon he’s won the second most major championships he holds the record for most weeks at number one in the world more than twice as long as anyone else that’s an amazing number in addition to his incredible playing career Tiger is a successful entrepreneur to put it mildly and devoted philanthropists how I originally met Tiger his TGR Foundation supports junior golf programs around the country his learning lab has helped over 165,000 students pursue their dreams in STEM fields Tiger we are inspired by everything you’ve become an attained the job you’ve done is incredible 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 of pushing boundaries defying limits and always striving for greatness that’s what he does 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 and now I’d like to ask the military aid to come forward and read the citation for Eldrick Tiger Woods Presidential Medal of Freedom thank you [Applause] Eldrick Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers of all time he is second all-time in both professional victories with 81 and major championships with 15 including five masters three US opens three Open Championships and four PGA Championships with a record-setting performance in 1997 he became the youngest person and first african-american to win the Masters and in 2019 he became the tournament’s second oldest champion off the course Tiger established the TGR Foundation which has empowered students to classroom and career success for more than 20 years the United States is now proud to honor Tiger Woods whose tenacity willpower and unyielding Drive inspire us all [Applause] [Applause] Thank You mr. president mrs. Trump thank you I just want to say this has been an unbelievable experience and to have the support that I’ve had for all these years and everyone here has seen and been with me for some of you from my entire life and in some of you for more than half my life you’ve seen the good in the bad the highs and the lows and I would not be in this position without all of your help in 97 yes I won the Masters and I was there too I ended up hugging my dad and my mom my dad’s no longer you hear about my mom’s here I love you mom thank you Sam and Charlie for all your love and support I love you guys so much Erica thank you I mean everyone is meant you guys I’m so much to me in my life and I’ve battled I’ve tried to I tried to hang in there and I’ve tried to come back and and play by the great game of golf again I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do it again and found a game that has allowed me to do this and the amazing masters experience that I just had a few weeks ago certainly this part of the highlight of what of what I’ve accomplished so far in my life on the golf course to have had that that type of experience and the bill would come out on top and win Joey thank you all the great reads to I just want to say thank you again this is an honor I know that I’m the the fourth golfer to have received this award the late Arnold Palmer the great Jack Nicklaus and Charlie Sifford who is I always called him grandpa because he was like the grandpa never had and I end up becoming so close with him that I end up dating my son Charlie after him so to have been chosen as the next call for after charlie is truly remarkable so thank you again and thank you mr. president [Applause] [Music] you

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