The scene in the Rose Garden Monday evening, when President Donald Trump lavished praise on Tiger Woods before placing the Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck, focused only on the eagles and birdies on the golf legend's scorecard.
Trump's Democratic foes haven't questioned whether Woods deserves the medal, which the White House said is meant to recognize "especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". But President Donald Trump's decision to award the nation's highest civilian honour to Woods has raised questions about whether the president should be boosting the profile of a business associate of The Trump Organization.
Woods's victory at Augusta National on April 14 marked his first major victory since 2008 and his first Masters win since 2005.
The golf pro suffered a hit to his image when a 2009 auto crash led to the revelation that he had cheated on his wife in a string of affairs.
In a short speech after receiving the medal, an emotional Woods thanked his family for their support and described his happiness at his recent wins.
"To have the opportunity to come back like this, you know, it is probably one of the biggest wins I've ever had", he said.
Since he took office, Trump has battled accusations from Democrats and ethics watchdogs that he's used the White House to line his pockets.
Mr. Trump detailed Woods' painful journey, including his fall from the top golfer in the world to among the worst in the rankings.
Some critics have blasted Woods over his links with Trump since the real estate mogul was elected president in November 2016.
Other presidents have given the honor to athletes like track and field's Jesse Owens; college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant; baseball's Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth; basketball coaches and players including John Wooden and Michael Jordan; boxing great Muhammad Ali and NASCAR racer Richard Petty. "No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office".
Golfers at Trump's club in Doral, Florida, can stay at the Tiger Woods Villa.
"[What] most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old", Woods said of Trump on his website, as spotted by the Washington Post. 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. He also teased his friend and business partner that, despite his injury history, he might be able to play 35 tournaments a year as Woods shook his head in disagreement. We've had dinner together. But Rush Limbaugh, who recently played with the President, says it's all in good fun. "I've known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency".