On Monday, Tiger Woods released a cryptic tweet: “Just posted some pictures of @LindseyVonn and me on Facebook facebook.com/Tiger.”
Open the link, and there are four professional photos of Woods, 37, and Vonn, 28, who have been dating for a “few months.”
Yes, they are Facebook official.
“This season has been great so far, and I’m happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral,” Woods said on the social-media site. “Something nice that’s happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continued to compete as athletes.”
On her own personal page, Vonn wrote, “I guess it wasn’t a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods. Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months, and it has made me very happy. I don’t plan on addressing this further as I would like to keep that part of my life between us, my family and close friends. Thank you for understanding and your continued support! Xo LV.”
For years an obsessively private man, this represents a stark departure for Woods. He divorced from Elin Nordegren in 2010, after a tabloid-fueled scandal that exposed his serial infidelity.
Vonn is an Olympic and World Cup downhill ski champion. In January, Woods made a stop in Austria – where Vonn was competing in the Alpine skiing world championships – on his way to Abu Dhabi to start his season. Two weeks ago, after he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral for his second win this year, The Daily Mail published photos that showed a woman, who appeared to be Vonn, in a golf cart at the marina where Woods' yacht ''Privacy'' was docked.
Vonn is recovering from right-knee surgery – something familiar to Woods – after a Feb. 5 crash that ended her season. Her divorce from Thomas Vonn after more than four years became official in January. They separated in 2011. Vonn, whose maiden name is Kildow, decided to keep Vonn as her last name after the divorce.
The announcement was one day after the World Cup season ended. Vonn hopes to return in time for the Olympics next year in Sochi.
Woods is playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week at Bay Hill, where he is a seven-time winner and the defending champion. Woods can return to No. 1 in the world for the first time since October 2010 if he wins.
After that, Woods is not expected to play until the Masters on April 11-14.
Doug Ferguson of The Associated Press contributed to this report.