It’s been two days since the Tiger Woods-Elin Nordegren divorce was finalized and both have spoken to the media. The tight-lipped Elin gushed to People about her side of the story, which hits stands on Friday. And on Wednesday afternoon when Tiger finished playing in the pro-am at Ridgewood, the site of The Barclays, he chatted with the media. As he walked off the green and to the interview area, he stopped for about five minutes to sign autographs for fans.
The atmosphere was a little tense and awkward with the unavoidable yet sensitive elephant in the temporary interview area behind the clubhouse. A subdued but cordial Tiger kicked off the pseudo press conference by talking about his first impressions of Ridgewood (he didn’t play in ’08 because he was still recovering from knee surgery), his game and working with Sean Foley.
Six questions later, a lady reporter from the NY Post chimed in.
“Tiger, in today’s People Magazine Elin describes the end of your marriage like a death where she feels grief, she hopes to forgive one day. I’m wondering, do you still love her?”
“I wish her the best in everything,” he replied. “You know, it’s a sad time in our lives. And we’re looking forward to how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that’s the most important thing.”
“Do you still love her?” the persistent Post reporter inquired again.
You would usually think that things got really awkward and Tiger glared at her icily. Actually, that wasn’t the case. He just did repeated, “That’s the most important thing,” and everyone moved on.
During the months of speculation leading to the divorce when asked whether the turmoil in his personal life was impacting his performance on the golf course, Tiger would usually say that it definitely difficult, but left it at that. Though at the PGA Championship, he did hint that the divorce was going to be finalized soon when he said something like, “Things are getting normalized.” Today, he opened up with sadness being the theme to his remarks.
“It was more difficult than I was letting on,” he admitted.
He also said it was harder to play and concentrate on the golf course than he thought it would be.
“Because being asked questions all the time, even after — even as tournaments are going I’ve been asked questions while we’re playing, and that’s always difficult. Especially when I’m trying to work on a few things, trying to find shots in order to get around the golf course and to have to talk about other things…You know, at times it was difficult [to concentrate on the golf course]. Certainly you try and block it out as best you can and focus on a shot. But at times it certainly was, yes.”
Asked he felt relief or remorse after “Monday,” Tiger said, “I don’t think that’s the word. I think it’s just more sadness. Because I don’t think you ever — you don’t ever go into a marriage looking to get divorced. That’s the thing. That’s why it is sad.”
He also took responsibility for the divorce.
“My actions certainly led us to this decision,” he acknowledged. “And I’ve certainly made a lot of errors in my life and that’s something I’m going to have to live with.”
Now, it’s time move on and look forward. Tiger tees off for the first time as a divorced man at 7:10am on Thursday morning. What was this Tiger play like? Off the course, he’s been more likable, agreeable, but naturally, sullen and serious. Oh, what about his swing and work with Foley?
“I still haven’t officially done it yet,” Tiger said. “Just because this would be the fourth time I changed my golf swing since I’ve been on the PGA Tour and I did some with Butch and with Hank and this would be my fourth one with Sean. So it’s an undertaking that I have to wrap my head around because it’s going to take some time.”
The same could be said about what he’s dealing with away from the golf course.
[Photo by AP]