Donald Trump discussed Tiger Woods’ crash with Fox News.
Trump spoke highly of Woods’ accomplishments and predicted that he would “be back.”
The transcript of the phone call interview reads:
PAVLICH: Joining me now by phone, President Donald Trump.
Mr. President, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone): Hi, Katie.
PAVLICH: Great to hear from you.
So, of course, you are friends with Tiger Woods. You’ve spent a lot of time with him, and when you hear anybody’s in an accident, it’s a horrific thing to witness, but especially someone that you know — and we’re all happy that he is OK.
And how did you react when you first heard the news this morning?
TRUMP: Well, I was really surprised. And, you know, he is doing so well. He’s — he’s getting — the back in shape, and then a thing like this happens. He’s had a big problem as you know with his back for a long period of time and it’s amazing.
He won the Masters, and he won the Masters with a bad back, which tells you the level of talent is incredible. And he’s been working on that, and then has this happened, it’s just tragic, tragic.
PAVLICH: Yeah, Mr. President, you gave — awarded the Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods in 2019. Let’s listen to what you had to say about him then, and then we’ll get your thoughts on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We (ph) are in the presence of a true legend, an extraordinary athlete who has transformed golf and achieved new levels of dominance. He’s also a great person. He’s a great guy.
Tiger introduced countless new people to the sport of golf from every background and from every walk of life. He inspired millions of young Americans with his thrilling wire to wire victories. Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion, and drive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAVLICH: And in that speech, you also talked about how he is a comeback kid and how he has been able to overcome a number of obstacles.
PAVLICH: So, maybe we’ll see him back on the golf course after this.
TRUMP: Well, I hope so. He — he’s overcome a lot, and — but, you know, he’s had an incredible life and he’s going to continue to have an incredible life. But now, he’ll recover from this.
It’s — it’s pretty bad on the legs, I understand. And, you know, he’ll figure a way. But he’s a — he is a wonderful person.
Aside from everything else, he’s a wonderful person.
PAVLICH: So, you spent time with him on the golf course. Tell us about your experience with him, your friendship, how you got to know him.
TRUMP: I just have over the years — I’ve known them for a long time, and he was just always great to me, and I have always felt the same with him. I’ve always just liked him.
You know, we had a good chemistry and always have, and I’m just a fan of his, and as a golfer, he’s just incredible. Him and Jack and a few others are, you know, very unique, very unique people.
And Tiger was really — I mean, he was intent on just getting it back to where it was, and then a thing like this happens. And he would be able to do it. Don’t forget, he won the Masters. And when he won the Masters, people were not expecting that, because he was getting better from the back, and the back was a big problem.
And the talent is so great that he was able to win the Masters with the back that is — is very — very tender to put it mildly, to put it nicely.
TRUMP: But that shows you the level of talent that he has. You know, for you (ph) to be in a field like that, and you’re not 100 percent. He’s an incredible guy.
PAVLICH: You talked about his talent. He was the fourth golfer to receive the Medal of Freedom. I remember that day —
PAVLICH: — when you were in the Rose Garden with him.
He thanked his family. He talked about the things that he’s been able to overcome with the support.
Tell us about that day and what he had in mind for the next two years and where he wanted to go with the sport.
TRUMP: Right. Well, because it was Tiger, it was — everybody wanted to be there. Everybody went crazy. You know, Tiger’s Tiger, and everybody just wanted to be there.
It was a big event, and he considered this one of the great honors of his life.
And he’s won, you know, all of these majors and all of the tournaments. I guess he is second in tournaments. And in the majors, he’s at 15. That’s a lot of majors.
And, you know, he was — it was an exciting day. It was a beautiful day. It was so good in so many ways, and he’s made — he made a lot of progress from that day, and then this has to happen.
He’s a very respected person. He is so respected by the other players, they idolize him.
And he’s going to be back. I have no doubt about it. He’s going to be back.
PAVLICH: Yeah, he definitely has made comebacks before. And I think, you know, you hear a few people talking about him today, and you see his mentorship to his kids, that he’s working with a number of people who want to learn how to golf.
I mean, Mr. President, and, of course, Tiger Woods are much better golfers than I am. I’m the person in the course who’s telling the people behind me to please go ahead so they don’t get frustrated.
PAVLICH: I’d pick the latest tee time possible so there are not people waiting behind me. So, I would love to take a golf lesson from Tiger Woods.
And I agree, I think that he certainly is capable of making a comeback, and it sounds like based on his history, he’d be willing to do something like that.
TRUMP: He knows how to do it, and I have no doubt. And he’s just a very respected person.
And, Katie, he’s going to be back. I don’t know if he’ll give you a lesson or not, but if he does, you can’t get a better one, right?
But he — he will be there. You watch, he will be there.
This is very tragic. I got in today, and I — you know, they immediately told me about it, and you turn on television, and you see that’s all they’re covering now. They just — you know, there’s something very unique and very special about Tiger.
PAVLICH: Yeah, he did an interview last weekend. He was asked about the Masters coming up in seven weeks and he was asked whether he was going to be there, and, of course, referring to his back injury, as you did.
PAVLICH: And he said, I hope to God that I’m going to be there. He is working on it. He said it was a matter of what his physical trainers and doctors were saying to him, whether he could make it.
PAVLICH: And now, this has happened. It’s devastating for anybody, but especially for an athlete.
So, do you have any other —
TRUMP: He would have been there too. I’ll bet you he would’ve been there too. He was, you know — when he says that, he means he’s going to be there. But now, this comes up, and it’s terrible.
PAVLICH: Yeah. Well, Mr. President, when you were playing golf with him, did he give you tips? Did he give you a few pointers out there on the green?
TRUMP: Yeah, he always does. I always like it. You know, if you can’t take tips from Tiger, you can’t take them from anyone.
And, you know, he’s in a very rare class with — with Jack. I mean, you know, Jack is 18, 18 majors, and Tiger is 15 majors. And Tiger’s got, I guess, 82 wins, which is tremendous, tremendous. I mean, it’s so unique to see that many.
I guess he’s tied with the Sam Snead and that’s a long time ago. That’s a lot — so one more — one more tournament, he’d be number one in terms of the tournaments won.
TRUMP: So, there’s a lot of great records that he has, and he’s got some records for scoring and putting — and a great putter. I always said, Tiger, were you always a great putter?
He said always a great putter. It was natural. It’s just very natural.
And a lot of people say putting is natural, but it was always very natural for him.
But just a great person most importantly. He’s going to be — I think he’s going to be fine. He’s going to make sure that he’s fine.
PAVLICH: And if he is watching tonight, what would you want to say to him and have him here?
TRUMP: Well, all I say to him is get better and get out there, because we all miss him. We — we need Tiger.
You know, when Tiger goes on the show, when he’s in contention, which is often, the ratings are double and triple, and it’s very few people that cause that kind of a phenomena. But the ratings are double and triple.
I’ve seen it many times. It’s like the ratings go up like two or three times from what they were the year before when he wasn’t competing or when he wasn’t, you know, in that final.
It doesn’t even — he does not have to be leading. If he’s anywhere near the lead, the television ratings for golf go through the roof.
So, you know, it’s — he’s very important guy in many ways.
PAVLICH: Well, we certainly hope that he has a full and speedy recovery and is back on the golf course.
PAVLICH: We appreciate you sharing your perspective as a friend and as someone who’s gotten to know him over the years.
Thank you, Mr. President, for coming on tonight.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, Katie.