Trump honors golf greats with award at private ceremony – KXAN Austin

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Annika Sorenstam of Sweden looks on after hitting from the 14th fairway during the first round of the PNC Championship Golf Tournament, Saturday, December 19, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. Sorenstam plans to return to limited competition next year at the US Senior Women’s Open. (AP Photo / Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Hall of Fame golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, along with the late Olympian Babe Didrikson Zaharias, have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House said Thursday.

The award is one of the highest civilian honors in the country. President Donald Trump usually held public ceremonies during the presentation of the honor, but Thursday’s event was closed to media. The president hadn’t put any public events on his agenda after the previous day‘s chaos on Capitol Hill, where pro-Trump supporters stormed the building, forcing it to lock down.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement about the awards, which were previously announced for Sorenstam and Player last March.

Both are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The player, who is South African, has won 24 PGA Tour events and 118 international tournaments.

Sorenstam, who is Swedish, ended her LPGA career with 72 tournament wins and was the dominant player of her time, winning the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award three years in a row starting from 2003.

The posthumous honor for Zaharias was announced Thursday. She was a versatile athlete nicknamed “Babe” after Babe Ruth. She was not only an Olympic track and field champion, but excelled at baseball, basketball and golf.

Zaharias was still a leading professional golfer when she died of cancer in 1956.

“His imposing legacy will forever shine in the history of American athletics,” said McEnany.


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