Trump to Tiger Woods: 'There are no winners like you'

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By Jonathan Allen  with NBC News Politics
Image: Golfer Tiger Woods is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at t
Tiger Woods is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 6, 2019.   -   Copyright  Clodagh Kilcoyne Reuters

WASHINGTON — Golf legend Tiger Woods accepted the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the nation's chief executive, from President Donald Trump at a Rose Garden ceremony Monday evening.

Trump announced he would bestow the medal last month after Woods, 43, won the Masters — his 15th major-tournament victory and first since 2008 — by a single stroke.

"Tiger, we are inspired by everything you've become and attained," Trump said. "There are no winners like you."

Woods battled through years of injuries and personal scandals, including well-publicized marital infidelities and a guilty plea on reckless driving charges after he was found asleep in his car in traffic with multiple prescription drugs in his system.

As Trump noted, the golfer's return to glory at the Masters, where he won his first of five tournaments in 1997, was presaged with a TOUR championship victory last year.

A clearly humbled Woods thanked the president first and then addressed his assembled friends and family.

"You've seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. ... I would not be in this position without all your help," he said. "I love you, Mom."

Woods is the fourth athlete honored by Trump with the Medal of Freedom, joining the late Major League Baseball slugger Babe Ruth and National Football League greats Roger Staubach and Alan Page. Trump has also given the medal to Miriam Adelson, wife of Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and, posthumously, rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.