To clear the air, there may be no bigger fan of Tiger Woods than myself, and no bigger hater of Donald Trump. I’ve follower Tiger since his days at Stanford, cheered him on during his first Master’s Win which was his first Major tournament twenty years ago. My choice of what to do on Father’s Day was generally to watch Tiger on tv in the US Open. If he was in contention, I watched Tiger.
When he had his trials both personal and physical, I recognized his faults, wished he’d done better, but still rooted for him to return to something resembling his former self. The best of his time, maybe all-time.
Last Sunday, I watched him play the final holes of the Masters, doing what he so often did before. Played solid and let those unaccustomed to the pressure, self-destruct all around him. I’ve watched Tiger win before, but never seem him so happy after climbing all the way out of the hell he had found himself in.
Shortly after his win, Donald Trump announced he was awarding Tiger the Presidential Medal of Freedom; America’s highest civilian honor. Trump has already given the award to a few athletes including the late Babe Ruth, Roger Staubach, and Alan Page.
Tiger has never been openly political. His brand has never been to embrace his politics or even his blackness. He preferred the term, “Cablinasian,” embracing his multi-ethnic origins, not wishing to exclude anyone. Tiger has known and played golf with Donald Trump for some time. When asked about him he said, “I’ve known Donald for a number of years. We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”
When asked about Trump’s harsh immigration policies. Woods responded in part, “Well, he’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office.”
I don’t ask Tiger to make the choice I’d make if invited to appear with Trump to receive an award. In my mind, the choice of Tiger and desire to appear alongside him is far more about Trump than it is Tiger’s accomplishments. If it’s Tiger’s desire to accept the award, by all means, he should do so.
But when you go Tiger and the camera’s are rolling, and Trump starts to inevitably make it all about him. When he makes it political and begins to lie as he always does. If he makes a racist comment about Muslims, or Native Americans, or “the Blacks” or maybe refers to you as “his black” as he has others. Consider before you go whether you will draw the line somewhere? Anywhere? You can respect the office but still recognize when the officeholder has disrespected it. Will you stand mute… or respond?