5/5/2019 10:37:56 AM

Politics-shy Tiger Woods to be honored by Trump at White House

Politics-shy Tiger Woods to be honored by Trump at White House

Washington, USA: During his illustrious career, Tiger Woods has treated politics as he would a menacing sandtrap -- avoiding it if at all possible.

He has hit the links in bipartisan fashion, teeing off with Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Republicans George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump.

A black superstar in a white-dominated sport, Woods has also generally avoided commenting about race relations in the United States.

But on Monday, Woods will find himself on the biggest political stage there is -- the White House.

And he will be the guest of honor of a president seen by many Americans as racially polarizing.

Trump, an avid golfer and the owner of several golf courses, is to present the 43-year-old Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Though the outspoken Republican has been engaged in a bitter feud with black NBA stars and American football players, he has never expressed anything but unbridled admiration for Woods.

He spoke to Woods, whose father was black and whose mother is of Thai origin, following his epic Masters victory last month and extended his congratulations.

Trump tweeted that he was honoring Woods "because of his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and more importantly, LIFE."

Once upon a time, White House visits by title-winning sports teams were routine, but several franchises -- including the NBA champion Golden State Warriors -- have opted out under Trump to protest his policies.

Woods is not expected to make any such waves.

Rather than endorsing politicians or decrying racial injustice, Woods has always just let his golf game do the talking.

"People wanted to imagine that Tiger was a social activist, a fighter for racial justice," said Orin Starn, a professor of history and cultural anthropology at Duke University.

"In fact, he's never wanted to be an activist," said Starn, author of "The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal."

"He's been pretty apolitical throughout his career."

Like NBA legend Michael Jordan, a fellow Nike endorser who famously shied away from any political statements, Woods also has commercial interests to protect.

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