In the age of President Trump, even renowned golfer Tiger Woods is great again — and that’s just too much for some people. Ahead of the ceremony in which Woods is to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, critics immediately pounced on Woods for having a past business relationship with Donald Trump. But these same critics seemingly ignored the fact that Woods completed one of the greatest career comebacks in sports history by winning the Masters Tournament a month ago.
According to Fox News, several journalists and social media and various publications took Woods to task for previously partnering with the Trump business empire, which arguably may have contributed to Woods not criticizing the president upon his election in 2016. From the way The New York Times put it, Woods has been a protege of Trump’s since the late 1990s.
Since then, Mr. Trump has named a villa after him at the Trump National Doral Miami. He has also gone into business abroad with Mr. Woods, announcing in 2014 that the golfer would design a course in Dubai as part of a luxury residential megaproject that would be managed by the Trump Organization.
On Monday, Mr. Trump is set to once again seize Mr. Woods’s moment. At the White House, he will present Mr. Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his Masters victory last month, a stunning personal comeback that put him back on top of the sports world at age 43, after a decade-long championship drought.
The Times report later went on to characterize Trump’s award to Tiger Woods as a mix of “hero worship and opportunism,” suggesting that it may be a ploy to bring a prominent black athlete to the White House as other athletes (football and basketball players) have boycotted.
Of course, President Obama gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award to Oprah Winfrey, who was one of his biggest celebrity allies during the 2008 election. While Tiger Woods may indeed have been a business partner with Trump, he never actively campaigned on the president’s behalf. Kyle C. Kopko, a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, claims that Obama’s ties to Oprah pale in comparison to Trump and Woods.
“I can’t recall a business partner,” Kopko told the Times. “I can’t think of something like this, where Tiger is designing a golf course for Trump. I can’t think of another parallel.”
Tiger Woods took flack from leftists in 2018 when he urged people to respect the office of the president, as noted by Fox News.
“He’s the president of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office,” Woods said at the time, earning the ire of ESPN commentator Max Kellerman.
“Well, I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods added at the time. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”
In response to the attacks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president honored Woods due to his athletic pedigree.
“The president thinks Tiger is not only a tremendous athlete but also has a great comeback story,” said Sanders. “He is undisputed as one of the great golfers in history and has broken barriers in the game.”