Tiger Woods had a really great weekend. He won the 2019 Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club Sunday, receiving the fifth green jacket of his golfing career. It was his first major victory since the 2008 U.S. Open. Monday Woods spoke with President Trump and his good fortune continued.
Sunday’s win was Tiger Woods’ fifteenth major career win. It was also proof of a major comeback, not just professionally but personally, too. While traveling to Minnesota for a rally Monday afternoon President Trump called Woods from Air Force One. After congratulating him on the victory Trump told him that he will be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Trump and Woods play golf together. President Trump is well aware of Woods’ personal life struggles which include addiction to opioids after back surgery for which he entered a rehab facility in 2010. His troubles surfaced in the press in 2009 and have included sexual addiction, divorce, a DUI, and charges of domestic assault. Woods didn’t compete in golf tournaments for several years.
At the age of 43, Woods became the second oldest winner of the Masters. Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus won in 1986 at age 46. Nicklaus still holds the record of victories in major tournaments. In February, Trump, Woods, and Nicklaus played golf together. Tiger’s win on Sunday even brought President Trump and former President Barack Obama together briefly as both men tweeted similar good thoughts about his victorious comeback.
The win even led to a rare moment of agreement between President Trump and former President Barack Obama. “What a fantastic life comeback for a really great guy!’’ the President said on Twitter. “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit and determination,’’ Obama posted.
Woods humbly acknowledged the difficulty he’s faced as he’s struggled to get back to the top.
“It’s unreal for me to experience this,’’ Woods said in a television interview after his victory on Sunday. “It was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to win just because of what’s transpired the last couple of years.”
It should be noted that Nike stood with Woods through his difficulties. Despite many sponsors running for the hills at the first inkling of controversy these days, Nike may well reap the rewards of their loyalty to the golfer.
Woods delivered $22.5 million in media exposure for Nike during the tournament on Sunday, according to Apex Marketing Group.
“He’s eclipsed what he provided Nike in brand exposure for the four majors last year with just this one major,” said Apex managing partner Eric Smallwood. “He’s got that drive now and he’s playing the best golf he’s played in recent years. I think he’s going to continue to provide Nike with enhanced exposure because the TV is going to follow him.”
In 2018 President Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award to two athletes, Football Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach and a posthumous medal for baseball legend Babe Ruth. In recent years, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, and Yogi Berra have all received the medal.
We can all use more feel-good stories. Let’s hope Tiger is truly back on track. Even those of us who are not golf fans appreciated his victory this weekend.