Tiger seems to love being on the cover of tabloid newspapers and gossip magazines. One reason being his series of record-breaking Master wins, and the other being his very publicized affair. The story hit headlines in the 2000s, and it took almost a decade for Tiger to come clean and explain the details. Get ready to read all the gossip.
The Birth of a Legend
Let’s start at the beginning. Before he became the face on the cover of every gossip magazine in the world he was just a baby, like the rest of us.
He was born Eldrick Tont Woods in Cypress, California, on December 30th, 1975. There’s quite a sweet story behind his name: His parents, Earl and Kutilda Wood, chose a name that would give the baby the same initials as his father's. And apart from his initials, Earl Woods passed on a passion for golfing to his son. He was an avid golfer himself.
Fame From a Young Age
Did you know that Woods was on TV when he was only two years old? Tiger had started picking up a golf club when he was basically a baby. It seemed to have paid off sooner rather than later as he was featured on TV a few months later on "The Mike Douglas Show."
He dazzled both host Bob Hope and viewers across the country. Imagine a toddler wowing a TV show host and viewers everywhere with his golfing skills at such a young age. It was clear that the future was looking very bright for Tiger.
Starting to Break Records
Word of this tiny golfer’s skills spread quickly amongst the golfing circles, and at the age of three, Tiger dazzled people once again. The toddler managed to complete nine holes in less than fifty shots, which is no easy feat, especially for a three-year-old!
Even pro golfer Jack Nicklaus didn’t achieve this until the age of nine. So, imagine people’s reaction when Tiger pulled this off.
The media caught on fast, and at five years old, Tiger Woods had already appeared in "Golf Digest" magazine. He also appeared on "That’s Incredible!", a reality show on ABC that featured awesome stunts and paranormal phenomena.
TV show hosts were amazed every time they spent some time with Tiger. Cathy Lee Crosby, John Davidson, and Frank Tarkenton all dropped their jaws when they saw little Tiger putt a golf ball from several different angles.
The Prodigy Begins
It was clear that Tiger was no ordinary kid, and in 1982, when he was barely six years old, he went on to play in the Under Age 10 category of the "Drive, Pitch and Putt" competition.
The event took place on the Navy Golf Course in his hometown of Cypress, California. Obviously, Tiger won first place. Two years later, he competed in the Junior World Golf Championship under the category of boys aged 9 to 10. Again, he smashed the competition.
The Awards Kept Coming
After his first win at the Junior World Golf Championship, Tiger went on to smash the competition six more times. In fact, between 1988 and 1991, he won consecutively, four times in a row.
The only reason he stopped winning was that he outgrew the required age for the competition and turned 18. Being a child competitor and competing against Tiger Woods must have been terrible for other kids’ motivation, seeing as he was near unbeatable.
A Proud Father
Not only did Earl's son have a passion for golf, but he was also clearly becoming a golfing prodigy. As a golf enthusiast himself, papa Woods couldn’t be prouder. It seems Tiger was winning over everybody but his father, until age 11, which was the first time that Tiger actually beat his dad fair and square.
Earl Woods tells the story in his autobiography, explaining how that was the first time his son beat him and how it was an incredibly emotional day.
High School Champion
When he was only 15 years old, Tiger Woods won first place at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, which made him the youngest competitor in history to ever win first place.
From 1991 on, Woods continued to hold this record for a whopping 19 years, until finally in 2010, golf prodigy Jim Liu beat it, winning the title at age 14.
Not Everything Was Smooth Sailing
Even though he didn’t have a normal childhood, seeing as he was a sports prodigy since age 3, Woods still struggled with common obstacles growing up. He confessed to having had a pretty bad stutter problem when he was young, which obviously affected his self-confidence.
In an interview with CBS News, Woods admitted that “it was very difficult, but I fought through it. I went to a school to try and get over that, and I just would work my tail off.” And apparently, it paid off because the stuttering stopped.
Still a Kid
It was easy to forget that Tiger was just a kid. Despite winning countless trophies and awards and breaking world records, he was still just your regular high school teenager. By the time he graduated from Western High School in Anaheim, he was already an international sports celebrity.
Not to mention being an excellent golfer in his school’s team, under the guidance of coach Don Crosby. Of course, it’s not hard to guess what everyone wrote in his yearbook – “Most Likely to Succeed”. He was already a world-renowned athlete.
Picking a College
While most high school graduates are praying to get into their college of choice, Tiger could have his pick. Logically, every college offered him a sports scholarship, including the most prestigious in the country. The California native ended up choosing Stanford, and he enrolled in the fall of 1994.
Unsurprisingly, Tiger won the first sporting event he attended, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational. A year later, he was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, Stanford Male Freshman of the Year, and NCAA First Team All-American.
It wasn’t long until Tiger joined the big leagues. At the young age of 20, in 1996, Woods became the first golfer in history to ever win first place for three U.S. Amateur titles in a row. Additionally, he also won the NCAA individual golf championship. Clearly, his future was on the golf course, so in that same year, Tiger left Stanford and went pro.
The offers started pouring in. Sponsorship deals with Titleist and Nike were the most profitable endorsement contacts in history at the time. Later in 1996, Woods was on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" after being named Sportsman of the Year.
A Force of Nature
Woods went on to shatter every record and win every competition. By the time he was 21 years old, Tiger was already the champion of the 1997 Masters Competition, his first adult golf tournament.
Again, he was the youngest golfer to ever win this title. A couple of months later, Tiger became the number one player in the Official World Golf Rankings.
His Greatest Supporter
It’s no surprise that Tiger’s biggest supporter and greatest fan was always his father. They had a very special relationship, and the cameras always caught Tiger running toward his father to give him a huge hug at the end of every tournament.
Woods always said that he wouldn’t be who he is if it wasn’t for his father Earl. In turn, his father said he “never treated Tiger like a kid. I treated him as an equal. We transcended the parent-child relationship and became best friends a long time ago.”
Trouble in Paradise
Tiger Woods had now become the world’s greatest golf player, and he didn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. However, the pro athlete started having some trouble with his sight. Woods had a serious nearsightedness problem, which meant that playing without glasses or contacts was out of the question.
The man was legally blind! Finally, in 1999, Woods had laser eye surgery and the problem improved significantly.
Tiger Comes Clean
Everybody knew that Tiger had been unfaithful to his wife Elin, but nobody knew the why, what and who. It took the pro golfer ten whole years to give out a press conference and come clean about everything. “I was unfaithful”, Woods admitted, “I had affairs. I never thought about who I was hurting. I only thought about myself”.
Pretty astonishing admission from one of the world’s sports legends.
A Match Made in Heaven
Tiger Woods met Swedish model Elin Nordegren back in 2001. At the time, Nordegren was the nanny for famous golfer Jesper Parnevik, who was a close friend of Woods. Apparently, it was love at first sight for Tiger, but unfortunately, the gorgeous model was in a relationship at the time.
According to sources close to him at the time, Tiger was OK with Elin not being interested at first. He persevered and became her friend, and a year later, they finally started dating.
On Top of the World
2001 was a very good year for Tiger Woods, he really had it all. He was going out with his sweetheart Elin, and his career in golf was skyrocketing. Woods won the Masters competition, again, and he became the only golf player to ever win four back-to-back major pro golf titles.
As this accomplishment is called a "Grand Slam," fans and media alike came up with the term "Tiger Slam" instead.
A Dream Come True
With his fame and career reaching new heights, Woods decided it was as good a time as any to make things even better. In 2003, during the Presidents Cup Gold Tournament in South Africa, the golfer proposed to Elin. Of course, she said yes.
They were married a year later, at the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, under a beautifully decorated Pagoda adorned with dozens of red roses. And of course, the guest list alone was enough to get your jaw to drop. Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Oprah, and Charles Barkley were just a few of the hundreds of A-list celebrities present.
Taking a Break
For the first time since he started his golfing career, Tiger Woods didn’t win any important trophies in 2003 and 2004. He was enjoying his newlywed status and making the most out of his life with Nordegren, so his career suddenly became a bit less of a priority.
The couple decided to focus on married life, plan their future family, and set goals for the years to come. And for someone who always liked to plan things up until the last detail, Woods was having the time of his life thinking about how many kids he wanted and what he would name them.
The Return of the King
Then, in 2005, Woods came back to stardom. He won 6 PGA Tour competitions. The Golf King was officially back. In terms of his career, it was proving to be one of Tiger’s best years yet, and it would have been if not for his father’s illness.
His father was in poor health and couldn’t attend the matches, and for the first time ever, Woods cried on national TV. A year later, in 2006, his father passed away, and it had a huge impact on the pro golfer’s life.
Tiger’s First Cub
Joy came to the Woods family a year later, in 2007, when Tiger and Elin’s first child was born. A beautiful daughter they named Sam. Apparently, Tiger said his dad used to call him Sam, which is why he chose the name.
Woods continued to honor his late father and family by playing spectacularly on the golf field for the rest of the year.
Everything Seemed a Little Too Perfect
Fast forward two years later, it was January 2009 and the couple welcomed their second child, a son named Charlie. The media was in a frenzy about the Woods family, their gorgeous family pictures, and Woods’s stellar career. What more could a person ask for?
Fans bought the image of the perfect family, but this all came crashing down towards the end of 2009, otherwise known as the beginning of the end.
The Infamous Car Crash
Rumors started to come out of the media mill that Woods had been unfaithful to his wife. Just as the tabloids and gossip magazines were beginning to publish about it, he crashed his Cadillac SUV.
The accident took place outside of the golfer’s house in Windermere, Florida, and when the cops arrived, Tiger’s account of the events made it evident that something was very wrong. First, he said he smashed into a hydrant, and then, he said it was a tree. Speculations started about Woods being under the influence at the time of the crash.
The Disaster Starts
When the cops came to assess the accident, Tiger wasn’t laying on the street alone. His wife Elin was standing over him, silently and with an enraged expression on her face. This marked what would be the beginning of a disastrous separation. From this point on all of Woods' dirty secrets started to come out.
Of course, keeping this private was near impossible, since the media vultures were already buzzing around, waiting for the next piece of saucy news.
The Truth About the Crash
When Tiger was taken to the hospital and then questioned by the police, they noticed several cuts and bruises on his face. It was clear these weren’t caused by the accident, so Tiger came clean and told them what had happened.
Apparently, Elin had confronted him because she’d found out about his affair and got so angry that she scratched his face. When Tiger tried to leave hurriedly and got in his Cadillac, Elin followed him out with a golf club and started smashing the car repeatedly.
The Legend Comes Crashing Down
The National Enquirer was the first to publish the story, which got picked up by other media outlets in seconds. The story was all over the news in a matter of hours – Tiger Woods had an affair with nightclub manager and TV personality Rachel Uchitel.
Every media outlet was able to get confirmation from Uchitel’s friends, and Tiger’s peaceful days as a family man were officially over. This was just the beginning.
Things Got Much Worse
As relentless as the National Enquirer is when it comes to celebrity gossip, they didn’t stop their investigation there. Instead, by the beginning of 2010, they had found out that Tiger Woods had reportedly dated countless women during his entire six years of marriage.
The story came out right around the time when Tiger voluntarily checked himself into a center to treat his dependency on intimate relations.
One Affair Was Especially Destructive
Obviously, Elin was far from happy, but one of the indiscretions that hit her the hardest was finding out that Tiger had cheated with their neighbor, Raychel Coudriet. Not only did she live next door and had become friends with the couple, but Tiger had known the girl since she was fourteen.
So, when they had an affair, that meant Tiger, who was well in his 30s, was involved with their 21-year-old neighbor. Elin was beyond furious.
Elin Goes Berserk
When Elin found out about the neighbor, she confronted her husband at a dinner with a group of his friends. Some of them later said that “she was screaming so loud that everyone could hear her”.
And honestly, Woods more than deserved the embarrassment, since apparently, he had started his affair with the neighbor when Elin was taking care of their newborn son Charlie.
That Was the End of It
Understandably, Elin continued with her screaming and finally said that she just can't believe that he had been unfaithful to her, and with the neighbor out of all people. She continued by saying that she was going to divorce him. After a betrayal like that, there’s not much left to do.
It didn’t matter that Tiger said he was going to treat himself, it didn’t matter that he promised he would change. It was too late. But with two young children, the situation became way more complicated.
Tiger Apologizes on National TV
By mid-2010, Tiger Woods had no other choice but to admit the infidelity accusations and go public with the whole thing. He gave a very shocking and emotional press conference, saying that he was ashamed of the damage he had caused to his wife and children.
As true as that all was and people appreciate an apology, especially when it’s said with tears in your eyes, the damage to Tiger’s image and career was done.
A Little Too Late
Despite his apology and his attempts at getting better through therapy, the companies that were responsible for a big part of his fortune didn’t want his face on their billboards and TV ads. The wholesome, familiar image of Tiger had shattered to pieces, and high-profile brands wanted nothing to do with him.
The pro golfer lost contracts with Gatorade, Accenture, AT&T, Gillette, and more. His game suffered a great deal too. Between 2009 and 2013, Woods went from being the number one golf player in the world, to being number 58.
By August 2010, Woods and Nordegren had gone through with the divorce. They went public saying that their priority was and always would be their children.
It took five years for Woods to feel he was in a place to finally open up about his marriage in a Time magazine interview. He said he wished he had been more honest and had spent more time working on their communication.
Among his long list of regrets, Tiger said he wished he would’ve handled the press differently back in 2009. He felt like he didn’t have control over anything, especially the way the information came out.
Looking back, he would’ve been more honest with his children. He also would not have revealed the story to the media in the same way. Though, we're not sure he had much of a choice in that matter.
At least one thing is clear – the ex-couple adores their kids and they’ll work through anything to keep them happy. Tiger is constantly going to therapy and working on himself to be a better father, and Elin appreciates it.
Over a decade has passed since the Woods debacle, and finally, the divorced couple has moved on with their lives. Elin is in a relationship with ex-football player Jordan Cameron, and Tiger is seeing Erica Herman, a famous restaurateur.
Elin Speaks Out
It was clear that throughout the entire media disaster in 2009, Elin avoided the press at all costs. She never gave an interview, always refused to comment, and basically didn’t speak to anyone for those years. She said she was always trying to protect her privacy and her children’s well-being.
But after ten years, the Swedish model felt like she had to set the record straight on a few things.
Her Side of the Story
One of the things that made Elin furious was the constant accusation by the media that she had to have known about the affairs. On top of the absolute hell she had to go through by finding out her husband had betrayed her for years, she had to explain to the media that she had no idea about the affairs.
On the contrary, she felt ashamed that she never suspected anything.
Living a Lie
Before everything blew up, Elin truly believed she was living a fairytale. She was a young 21-year-old when she met Tiger, and she’d only been in the United States for a year, working as a nanny.
She migrated from Sweden with hopes of studying writing and psychology, but those dreams slowly faded as she fell in love with Woods and got swept up by the crazy celebrity lifestyle. And when she became a mother, everything was put on indefinite hold.
No Time for Herself
Things got even worse when the marriage ended since Elin’s time was completely consumed by meetings with lawyers, taking care of her kids, and avoiding the media. So, her dreams of becoming a psychologist faded further and further into the background.
She had previously started to attend psychology classes, but after the scandal in 2009, she had to pause them altogether.
Clearing Up Nasty Rumors
As if the whole thing wasn’t bad enough, Elin was getting criticized for having attacked Tiger Woods and causing him to crash. She claimed Tiger made up that story when being questioned by the police.
She said that the speculation that she would have used a golf club to hit him is ridiculous. We guess apart from nosy neighbors that happened to be watching that day, no one will ever know the truth.
Elin went to therapy for years after the divorce and the media frenzy. She claimed she suffered from severe insomnia. Her kids never noticed because she wouldn’t allow herself to ever look tired or sad around them, but on the inside, she was having an extremely difficult time.
Thankfully, she had a strong support group, and she ultimately said that her kids saved her from falling into a pit of despair.
Nothing Like Family
Apart from close friends in the U.S., Elin also had the support of her parents and sister, who would call her almost every day from Sweden to check up on her.
She took up exercising and writing, and she went back to her psychology classes. In 2014, she graduated with high honors from Rollins College in Florida, finally getting her degree in psychology. Slowly, she started to bounce back.
Not All Bad
After the divorce, Elin got over $100 million in the settlement. The only comment Elin made was to say that “money can’t buy happiness or put my family back together”. But it did buy her a 21,000-sq.ft. mansion in Palm Beach, which was renovated by Celine Dion’s decorator.
We’re sure she would’ve traded all that money for a stable, loyal marriage. But hey, if life isn’t going to turn out as we want and if you’re going to be put through hell, you might as well line your pockets.
A Peaceful Arrangement
Whether they like it or not, Elin and Tiger will always be connected. They have shared custody of their two kids and have had to learn to communicate and have a peaceful relationship for their sake.
They live half an hour away from each other and have established a productive line of communication about the children’s lives. It seems things can work out in the end; it just takes a decade. Elin has even said that Tiger is a great father to their children.
A New Life
Even though she swore off golf and golf players forever, Elin seems to have a soft spot for athletes. She’s been dating the ex-football player Jordan Cameron since 2019, and the two now have a child together!
As for Tiger Woods, he’s also doing great. Back to playing golf, dating a gorgeous woman, and getting to see his kids regularly seems like a pretty sweet deal after the tumultuous few years he had. Of course, the image that he had of that wholesome, perfect sports figure that parents and kids looked up to is long gone.
The World Is Still Interested
Even after all these years, and countless other scandals, people still seem to be interested in Tiger Woods’s story. In January 2021, a documentary film came out on HBO about the whole ordeal.
Although it received harsh criticism from close sources and representatives of the athlete, the ratings seemed to have gone through the roof. This proves once more that, for better or worse, these stories never go away, and after all, he was one of the world’s most famous golf players for many years.
Revisiting the Mistress
Back in 2009, when the outrageous news of Tiger’s affairs came out, the first mistress to be revealed was Rachel Uchitel. But apart from getting brief confirmations from her friends and revealing she was a nightclub manager and TV spokesperson, not much was known.
Now, this was very strange, since Uchitel had just become a person of interest number one to every tabloid in America. How come she never spoke out about her side of the story?
She Was Silenced
It was later revealed in HBO’s "Tiger" documentary, it seems the reason Rachel never spoke out was that the golfer’s lawyers had her sign an NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement).
The lawyers promised her a very large sum of money in exchange for her silence, but apparently, that money never came. So, Rachel decided to spill the beans in the documentary and spare no detail.
Tiger Woods Today
So what is Tiger Woods up to nowadays? Well, according to an interview with Golf Digest last November, he said that even though his career as a full-time pro golfer was probably over, he would still join in on a few important golfing events every year.
Actually, Tiger returned to the famous 2022 Masters PGA Tour for the first time since his infamous car crash back in 2009. Let’s not forget he probably keeps quite busy teaching his son Charlie everything he knows about golf. At the 2021 PNC Championship, Charlie played amazingly on the golf course. It’s like watching a mini-Tiger on the course.