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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tiger Woods: Can He Get on Course After Divorce?

Woods Leads With 65 in First Round at Barclays, Looks to Turn Season Around After Marriage Split

Tiger Woods' former wife, Elin Nordegren, may have been the one to say she's been "through hell" as the golf great's cheating scandal exploded, but the same could be said for Woods' golf game. Now with the divorce finalized, fans and golf experts alike are turning their attention on Woods in a setting he's more accustomed to, and where he could start to bounce back: on the course.

Woods teed off today at The Barclays Pro Am, shooting a first-round 65 to take the lead. His game appeared to be back on track after admitting to reporters Wednesday that the split with Nordegren was "a lot more difficult than I was letting on.

"Concentration on the golf course," he said, "at times it was difficult."

"If you watched Tiger Woods over the course of this season, there are certainly times when he looks like he wants no part of being on the golf course at all," golf writer Jason Sobel told "Good Morning America." "He looks like he would rather be anywhere but playing professional golf."

Speaking to reporters, Woods agreed.

"There were a few tournaments like that," he said. "Yeah, most of the summer was like that."

While his now ex-wife was speaking to People magazine in a headline-making interview about the divorce Wednesday, Woods was teeing off for a practice round in which he said he played "better."

"[I was] pleasantly surprised and pleased the shape of shots I was able to hit today," Woods told reporters.

But with the divorce behind him, Woods said relief is not what he's feeling.

"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," he said.

Woods is running out of time to nab a tournament win before he marks his first professional career year ever without one. Woods, who has consistently been the No. 1 ranked golfer for the past three years, is starting the PGA Tour playoffs at No. 112.

Elin Nordegren Breaks Her Silence

Elin Nordegren said she wanted to save her marriage to Tiger Woods even after she was "blindsided" by his multiple affairs, but in the end the damage was irreparable and she didn't trust him.

"I've been through hell," Nordegren, whose divorce was finalized Monday, told People magazine in the issue to hit newsstands Friday.

At a press conference Wednesday preceding The Barclays, Woods called the divorce a "sad time."

"You know, it's a sad time in our lives," he said. "And we're looking forward in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that's the important thing."

Nordegren: 'I Never Suspected'

"I never suspected, not a one," she said in the exclusive interview. "For the last three-and-a-half years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school."

And even though she tried to shield her two young children as much as possible, daughter Sam, 3, picked up on her grief, asking, "Mommy, where is your boo-boo?"

While she has withheld some details, Nordegren, 30, said she is speaking out now because she wants to set the record straight and also sees opening up as a step toward healing. But she told People she had no intention of addressing the matters again, saying she hoped she and her children could get the privacy they needed to adjust to their new lives.

Despite everything Nordegren said she has no regrets and is gracious toward her ex.

"I wish him all the best in the future, as a person and as an athlete," she said. "I know he is going to go down as the best golfer that ever lived, and rightfully so. I feel privileged to have witnessed a part of his golfing career."

Nordegren's interview with People was conducted in four parts totaling 19 hours, with the Swedish-born Nordegren writing down some of her answers to make sure her English was accurately describing her feelings.

"She's still in a bad place, but getting better," People Magazine Deputy Managing Editor Peter Castro told "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "This is a woman with incredible grace and poise and really a model for how you should repair your life."

Nordegren's seemingly perfect life started to unravel in a public way in November, when Woods crashed his SUV outside the family's Florida home.

In the days that followed, there were reports of an alleged relationship between Woods, 34, and a New York City nightclub hostess. Before long, several other allegations were made about even more women.

And there was the now infamous voicemail, purportedly left by Woods for cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs.

In the message, a panicked voice identified as Woods by US Weekly apparently begs Grubbs to change her voicemail greeting. The voicemail is from Nov. 24, the day before reports of his alleged affairs surfaced, according to US Weekly.

"Hey it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor," the caller says in the message. "Can you please, uh, take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, um, what do you call it, just have it as a number on the voice mail. Just have it as your telephone number. You have to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."

Couple Tried 'Really Hard' to Save Marriage

In the end, Woods was rumored to have been involved with more than a dozen women, including a porn star.

He eventually admitted he cheated. In an effort to save his marriage, he took time off from golf and sought treatment in a private clinic.

As all this unfolded, Nordegren said she experienced "absolute shock and disbelief."

"I felt stupid as more things were revealed -- how could I not have known anything? The word 'betrayal' isn't strong enough. I felt embarrassed for having been so deceived. I felt betrayed by many people around me," she said.

Even so, she wanted the marriage to work.


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