In the wake of the turmoil over the United States Capitol, President Donald Trump on Thursday cleverly decorated three prominent golfers who have made sporting history. Annika Sorenstam, Babe Didrickson Zaharias and Gary Player received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.
Ironically, this medal, which is said to be the highest civilian honor in the United States – along with the Congress Gold Medal – is given to individuals who have made great contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, for world peace, or to those who have made great efforts in the cultural or other spheres, whether public or private. Both Americans and foreigners can get this distinction.
Sorenstam, 50, Sweden, is the most decorated golfer on the LPGA Tour with 72 career victories. The 85-year-old South African has won 165 tournaments around the world and holds nine major titles. He is one of only five golfers to have won four Grand Slam titles.
Zaharias died in 1956 and was posthumously paid tribute. Winner of the Triple Olympic medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, she is an accomplished sportsman, including golf. She had ten major wins there and also played in the men’s. In 1950, she co-founded LPGA.
This ceremony is not on the unveiled agenda. The president presented his medals to three members of the Golf Hall of Fame as several advisers and employees of the Trump administration left the ship after scenes of provocation and outrage. Headlines in the history of golf, they like to ignore the horrors of the day before.
The ceremony, held behind closed doors of the White House’s East Room, brought together sixty guests, many questioning.
On this occasion, the player’s eldest son, Mark, openly expressed his respect for his father, who often rubbed his shoulders with the president, following the humiliating incidents that claimed the lives of four people.
“I wish he had simply and politely declined this medal right now. He was completely deaf and refused,” he posted on Twitter.
The two have been at loggerheads for months over a dispute at the Gary Player Group company.
Since presenting the medal to Tiger Woods in May 2019, Trump has graced three more golfers among his 23 winners since 2017. Other golfers like Arnold Palmer (2004), Jack Nicklaus (2005) and Charlie Seaford (2014) are medals of freedom.