Interview Woods ex-wife went through hell
She said she never hit her famous ex-husband with a golf club.
She said she’s never felt so sad and devastated, and hopes she never will again.
All this and more from the woman the world has waited to hear from since that night in November that shattered her marriage and the carefully crafted image of Tiger Woods.
“I’ve been through hell,” Nordegren said in an interview with People magazine released Wednesday, two days after she and Woods were officially divorced. “It’s hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden – was it a lie? You’re struggling because it wasn’t real. But I survived. It was hard, but it didn’t kill me.”
She and the couple’s children, 3-year-old daughter Sam and 18-month-old son Charlie, have settled a mile from her ex-husband in a rented house in a gated community in Windermere, Florida – where Woods needs her permission to get past the guard. The two are sharing custody of their children.
She credits therapy and long runs with helping her deal with the past nine months, and also kept a journal of her thoughts. “I haven’t gone back to read what I wrote in December and January; I’m afraid to,” she said.
She has not watched “one minute of golf.” But she can laugh at things now, calling the “Saturday Night Live” and “South Park” parodies of her “pretty hysterical” (though totally untrue).
“She’s been amazing,” said Mia Parnevik, for whom Nordegren was working as a nanny when she met Woods more than a decade ago. “She has held her head high. To go through a divorce is not easy for anybody. To go through what she’s gone through is not humane.”
She is not, however, without scars. In the days before the divorce was finalized, Nordegren’s long, blonde hair began falling out.
“She’s held her head high. She has not caved in,” said Parnevik, wife of pro golfer Jesper Parnevik. “She’s not said bad things about him, and that’s kind of an easy game to get into.”
The Swedish-born Nordegren has always guarded her privacy as fiercely as Woods, if not more so. Even in happier times she was rarely quoted. She kept to herself at golf tournaments, staying well beyond the ropes and once turning away when she noticed photographers taking her picture.
Years ago, a reporter mentioned that he had never seen her on the 18th green after Woods won a tournament.
“That’s just not my personality,” she said.
But the car crash outside the couple’s Florida home in November thrust her into the public eye.
The world knew the tawdry details of Woods’ philandering, and many wondered if Nordegren had a hand in the accident, perhaps going after him in a fit of rage when she caught him.
“This was one of the things I had the hardest time with people thinking,” Nordegren said. “There was never any violence inside or outside our home. The speculation that I would have used a golf club to hit him is just truly ridiculous.”
Nordegren would not disclose the amount of the divorce settlement but did say “money can’t buy happiness or put my family back together.”
Nordegren said she had never suspected Woods of cheating. She hadn’t traveled much in recent years, busy with the couple’s children and psychology classes.
“I felt stupid as more things were revealed – how could I not have known anything?” Nordegren said. “The word betrayal isn’t strong enough. I felt like my whole world had fallen apart. It seemed that my world as I thought it was had never existed. I felt embarrassed for having been so deceived. I felt betrayed by many people around me.”
Still, Nordegren said the couple tried for months to reconcile. Woods even spent two months in therapy in hopes of saving the marriage. The child of divorced parents herself, Nordegren said she wanted her children to have a “core family,” a happily married mother and father.
Nordegren leaned heavily on her family during the turmoil. Twin sister Josefin, a London-based attorney, was part of her legal team, and her mother, Barbro Holmberg, traveled to Florida to be with her daughter.
But even that was not without drama. Holmberg, who has very low blood pressure, collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital during a December visit after the flu swept through Nordegren’s house.
In the end, Nordegren said she decided that a marriage “without trust and love” wasn’t good for anyone.
“I am now going to do my very best to show them that alone and happy is better than being in a relationship where there is no trust,” she said.
Asked about his ex-wife’s interview, Woods said Wednesday, “I wish her the best in everything.”
“You don’t ever go into a marriage looking to get divorced. That’s the thing,” Woods said from The Barclays golf tournament in New Jersey. “That’s why it is sad.”
Woods’ golf game has suffered amid his personal turmoil, and he said Wednesday that his children’s well-being remains his priority. But Nordegren said she still believes he’ll wind up as the “best golfer that ever lived.”
Just don’t expect her to be watching. “Forgiveness takes time,” and she’s still working on it, Nordegren said.
“She should get a lot of credit for how she portrayed herself,” Parnevik said. “The integrity and respect, that’s her – not him.”
Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier
Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.
Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.
And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.
Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.
The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.
The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.
''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''
Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.
Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.
That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.
''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''
Off the course, they're also different.
The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.
Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.
Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.
''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.
Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.
Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.
Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.
On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.
In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.
Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.
Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.
''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.
The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.
''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.
LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.
Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.
''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''
Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss
Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.
Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.
"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."
At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.
Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.
"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."
Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win
South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.
Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.
Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.
“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”
Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.
“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”
Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.
“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”