US president Donald Trump, facing calls for his removal from office, turned from controversy to ceremony on Thursday as he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfers Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
With just 13 days left in his term, Trump gave the nation's highest civilian honour to Sweden's Sorenstam, a 10-time major champion, and South African Player, winner of nine major titles.
Receiving the honour posthumously was Zaharias, who also won 10 golf majors as well as two track & field gold medals at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games and is regarded as one of the greatest American athletes of all time. She died in 1956 at the age of 45.
"Today, President Donald J. Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Babe Zaharias. The President also presented the award to previously announced recipients Annika Sorenstam and Gary J. Player," the White House said in a statement.
The presentation, not open to the press, took place in the East Room at the White House with 50-60 people in attendance and "went off without a hitch," one of the guests told GolfChannel.com.
The trio join Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Charlie Sifford and Tiger Woods as the only golfers to receive the award.
45-year-old Woods received his award last year after he won his fifth Masters title.
It was announced in March that Sorenstam, Player and Zaharias would be presented with the award but the ceremony was postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Trump, who is an avid golfer and owns several courses around the world, has played with both Sorenstam and Player.