Fact Check

Tiger Woods Inaugural Speech

As part of the 2009 presidential inauguration festivities, Tiger Woods gave a speech in thanks of the military?

Published Feb. 23, 2009


Claim:   As part of the 2009 pre-inaugural festivities, Tiger Woods gave a speech in thanks of the military.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2009]

Tiger Woods' Inauguration Speech

Tiger Woods accepted the invitation to speak at the inauguration........

But he didn't deliver the message his inviters had expected!

Tiger Woods spoke Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during "We Are One," an inauguration celebration for President-elect Barack Obama.

Below is the text of his speech, entitled "You'll Never Walk Alone" as posted on his Web site:

I grew up in a military family — and my role models in life were my Mom and Dad, Lt. Colonel Earl Woods.

My dad was a Special Forces operator and many nights friends would visit our home. They represented every branch of service, and every rank. In my Dad, and in those guests, I saw first hand the dedication and commitment of those who serve. They come from every walk of life. From every part of our country. Time and again, across generations,

they have defended our safety in the dark of night and far from home.

Each day — and particularly on this historic day — we honor the men and women in uniform who serve our country and protect our freedom. They travel to the dangerous corners of the world, and we must remember that for every person who is in uniform, there are families who wait for them to come home safely.

I am honored that the military is such an important part, not just of my personal life, but of my professional life as well. The golf tournament we do each year here in Washington is a testament to those unsung heroes. I am the son of a man who dedicated his life to his country, family and the military, and I am a better person for it.

In the summer of 1864, Abraham Lincoln, the man whose memorial we stand, spoke to the 164th Ohio Regiment and said: "I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country."

Just as they have stood tall for our country — we must always stand by and support the men and women in uniform and their families.

Thank you, and it is now my pleasure to introduce the U.S. Naval Glee Club.

You know he was greatly pressured to be there. You know the liberals have been mad at him for a decade for not joining their ranks. You know he didn't want to be there. So instead of paying homage to Obama, he paid tribute to our soldiers. Not one time did Tiger mention Obama or the inauguration or the new administration. You know, he knew he would disappoint, even anger, many, many liberals. but Tiger is his own man. His old man taught him to be his own man. Somewhere in that cold, gray Washington sky, old Earl was smiling down on his son.

veritas odium parit

Lex facit Regem


Origins:   On 18 January 2009, golfer Tiger Woods gave the speech quoted above at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the HBO-televised "We Are One" event held as part of the lead-up to Barack Obama's presidential inauguration two days later. The PGA Tour web site displays the full text of Tiger Woods' speech, as does Woods' own web site (look for the 18 January item in the News Archive).

As noted in the comments added by whoever framed the speech into the e-mail forward cited above, "Not one time did Tiger mention Obama or the inauguration or the new administration"; instead, the speech given by the golf legend focused on the commitment and dedication of those who serve in the U.S. armed forces and at its conclusion called for unwavering support for the men and women in uniform. However, no evidence supports the claim that a reluctant Woods was "greatly pressured" to take part in the "We Are One" celebration or that the nature of the speech he delivered came as a surprise to the event's organizers. Woods comes from a military family (his father was an Army officer), and he was chosen to speak just before, and introduce, a performance by the U.S. Naval Glee Club, so the nature of his remarks was perfectly appropriate to the spot on the program for which he was selected.

Moreover, although Woods has drawn criticism in the press over the years for being publicly apolitical (in 1997 he turned down an invitation from former President Bill Clinton to attend an event held at New York's Shea Stadium celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking baseball's color barrier), after the 2008 U.S. presidential election he waxed enthusiastic about Barack Obama's victory:

Tiger Woods isn't one to reveal his opinions on many non-golf topics. But the No. 1-ranked player in the world did weigh in on Barack Obama's election as the first African American president in United States history.

"I think it's absolutely incredible," Woods told CNBC. "He represents America. He's multiracial. I was hoping it would happen in my lifetime. My father was hoping it would happen in his lifetime, but he didn't get to see it. I'm lucky enough to have seen a person of color in the White House."

When asked by the cable news outlet how his father Earl would have reacted to Obama's election as the 44th President of the United States, Woods didn't hesitate.

"He would have cried. Absolutely. No doubt about it."

For those who were wondering, "veritas odium parit" is Latin for "truth begets hatred," and "lex facit regem" translates as "the law makes the king."

Last updated:   14 July 2009


    Behre, Robert.   "Party on the Mall; Thousands at Lincoln Memorial Celebrate."

    The [Charleston] Post and Courier.   19 January 2009   (p. A1).

    Dorman, Larry.   "Woods Remains Busy as He Plots His Return."

    The New York Times.   4 February 2009   (p. B16).

    Associated Press.   "Tiger to Speak at Lincoln Memorial."

    ESPN.com.   16 January 2009.

    ESPN.com.   "Woods Calls Obama's Election 'Absolutely Incredible.'"

    11 November 2008.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.