Trump's Prediction About Tiger Woods Is Turning Some Heads

In a rare post-presidential appearance, former President Donald Trump took to the airwaves in a Fox News segment on Feb. 23, 2021 to express well-wishes of recovery to golfing icon Tiger Woods, who was hospitalized earlier that day following a serious car accident with multiple severe injuries to his legs. During a segment on the conservative news network with host Katie Pavlich, Trump expressed his certainty in a full recovery for Woods, who he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.

"He's gonna be back, I have no doubt about it. He's gonna be back," the twice-impeached president told Pavlich (via New York Post). He later went on to recall the day he gave Woods the highest honor in the land awarded to a civilian, stating that "everyone wanted to be there," and that Woods "considered [the Medal] one of the great honors of his life." 

Despite the possible, career-altering ramifications Woods might endure following a lengthy, extensive surgery on his right leg reported by outlets like ESPN, Trump remained confident that the legendary athlete will triumph. "He's overcome a lot. He's had an incredible life and he's going to continue to have an incredible life," Trump reasserted. "But now he'll recover from this. It's pretty bad on the legs, I understand. He'll figure out a way. He's a wonderful person." 

But is there more to Trump's statements over Woods' accident and subsequent, if unassured, recovery? Read on after the jump to find out. 

Trump's hopes for Tiger Woods' recovery might be entangled with business interests

While Donald Trump has had a longstanding friendship with Tiger Woods, his motivations for wishing the golfer a speedy and complete recovery might have other possible ramifications — namely, those associated with Trump's past and current golf-related business ventures. Considering how Trump's remarks over a possible Woods comeback included how Woods is a significant ratings-booster — as USA Today noted, Trump referred how golf fans "miss him," and touted that "when Tiger is in contention...ratings are double and triple" — the ex-commander-in-chief's good tidings towards Woods might not be as altruistic as they seem at first glance. 

Trump, who as of January 2021 is the owner of 17 private golf resorts worldwide (including the Mar-a-Lago private club near Palm Beach, Fla., where he currently, if uncomfortably, resides), has garnered a reputation as the ruler golfing empire. That empire, however, might be veering on the brink of ruin, at least internationally. Per Business Insider, the former president's Scottish courses, located in Aberdeen and Turnberry, are currently under possible audit by the Scottish government, with the body politic contemplating whether both will be seized in an effort to investigate if they have been funded through illegal means. 

The news of a possible probe came after The New York Times published a report in September 2020 revealing that Trump had lost a total of $315.6 million in revenue from his golfing properties in the U.S. and abroad since 2000.

Does Donald Trump see Tiger Woods as an asset?

Unfortunately, the notion that Donald Trump might view Tiger Woods as an asset (whether instead of or despite their friendship) isn't entirely out of left field. In 2019, The New York Times made a case for this very same scenario, pointing out how Woods himself has fueled Trump's golf-related business enterprises for years, including a villa named after him at Trump's luxury resort and golf club in Miami and a golf course designed by Woods himself at Trump's resort in Dubai. Times journalists Annie Karni and Kevin Draper even pointed to a photo Trump took with Woods right after Woods won his first Masters in 1997 at the Trump Taj Mahal as a chance to align himself with the man who had just become the most famous golfer in the world.

In an interview with The New York Times, a watchdog group director Aaron Scherb, who works for the organization Common Cause, saw Woods' Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 bestowed upon him by Trump as a point of proof of how Trump regards the golfer. "Tiger Woods is obviously a very talented golfer," Scherb said at the time, but "[awarding Woods the Medal] shows he's willing to use any tool of government to benefit his business and political allies." 

Donald Trump's golfing empire could tumble over an investigation of his finances

While Donald Trump's comments on how Tiger Woods is a golfing rating booster may seem speculative, when paired with the overall state of Trump's finances, including his worldwide golf resort empire, their inclusion seems more substantial. On Feb. 22, 2021, Trump once again made headlines after the Supreme Court ruled against a motion filed by Trump's legal team in an effort to keep his tax records and other financial documents protected from legal scrutiny — specifically regarding an ongoing investigation spearheaded by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. 

The decision to waive Trump's last attempt to block the release of his tax records to NYC prosecutors directly relates to a grand inquiry Vance and his office is preparing to launch into the dealings of the Trump Organization, which Trump himself headed before assuming office in 2016. Per The Washington Post, the investigation stems from whether or not Trump's financial dealings violated New York state law, chiefly through "manipulat[ing] property values to obtain tax breaks or favorable loan rates." If the investigation unearths substantive evidence or proof of these claims, the consequences would affect not only Trump's financial moves in-state but the Trump Organization, a real estate company with global properties, as a whole.

So while Trump's well-wishes to Woods could be simply a display of friendship, it could also be an exercise in protecting what he sees as his brand — one that has been consistently dogged by lawsuits and investigation even after he left office.