Tiger Woods and his Swedish-born wife officially divorced Monday, nine months after his middle-of-the night car crash outside their home set off shocking revelations that the world’s most famous athlete had been cheating on her through multiple affairs.
“We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future,” Woods and Elin Nordegren said in a joint statement released by their lawyers.
The divorce was granted in Bay County Circuit Court in Panama City, Fla., about 600 kilometres away from their Isleworth home outside Orlando. The couple had married in October 2004 in Barbados and have a three-year-old daughter, Sam, and a 19-month-old son, Charlie.
The marriage was described in court documents as “irretrievably broken” with no point in trying to reconcile. Terms of the divorce were not disclosed, except that they will “share parenting” of their two children.
“We love Elin, and we are so proud of the grace and strength she has shown during this difficult time,” said Nordegren’s father, Thomas Nordegren, a talk show host at national broadcaster Swedish Radio. “We know that she will come out of this even stronger and has a bright future in front of her.”
The divorce was finalized by Bay County Circuit Judge Judy Pittman Biebel during a brief hearing in a conference room in her chambers, according to Biebel’s judicial assistant Kim Gibson. The hearing lasted no more than 10 minutes. Woods and Nordegren were present, along with their lawyers, Gibson said.
“I don’t comment on active cases,” said Thomas J. Sasser, Woods’ divorce lawyer. When asked why they chose to file in Panama City, Sasser said it was a joint decision by the lawyers.
Nordegren’s lawyers — which included her twin sister, London-based Josefin Lonnborg — referred all questions to the statement.
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, declined comment when asked if the couple had a prenuptial agreement or terms of the settlement. “We’re not commenting beyond what was in the release,” he said.
Nordegren’s mother, Barbro Holmberg, also declined comment.
Nordegren, who once worked as a nanny for Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, asked to have her maiden name restored as Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren.
The couple signed a marital settlement agreement on July 3 and July 4, the weekend of the AT&T National outside Philadelphia, where Woods failed to break par in a PGA Tour event for the first time in 11 years.
The sordid sex scandal cost Woods three major corporate sponsors — Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade — worth millions of dollars, and he lost his image as the gold standard in sports endorsements. A month after the scandal became public, Woods spent two months in therapy at a Mississippi clinic with hopes of saving his marriage.
“While we are no longer married, we are the parents of two wonderful children and their happiness has been, and will always be, of paramount importance to both of us,” they said in the statement. … “The weeks and months ahead will not be easy for them as we adjust to a new family situation, which is why our privacy must be a principal concern.”
According to court documents, Woods completed the American Safety Institute’s four-hour course on “Parent Education and Family Stablization” on July 10, the day before he left to play the British Open at St. Andrews. Woods, who had won the previous two times at St. Andrews by a combined 13 shots, tied for 23rd.
Nordegren completed her four-hour class through FloridaParentingClass.com on Aug. 16, the day after Woods tied for 28th in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Documents also show the two children lived at their primary home at Isleworth until November 2009 — Woods crashed his SUV over the fire hydrant and into a tree on Nov. 27 — and that Nordegren had moved out to a nearby residence since then.
Woods is to play this week at The Barclays, where he needs a good performance to extend his PGA Tour season and try to show he is worth picking for the Ryder Cup. It will be his first tournament as a single man since he finished ninth in a World Golf Championship in Ireland in October 2004.
Since returning to golf at the Masters, Woods has not come close to winning a tournament. He tied for fourth in the Masters and in the U.S. Open, both times taking himself out of contention early in the final round.
One example of how the impending divorce has affected him came last month when he played in a charity pro-am in Ireland, which ended on Tuesday. Instead of staying overseas to practice on links courses, Woods flew home to Florida for six days to see his children, then returned to Scotland for the British Open.
Woods has won 82 times worldwide — 36 times and six majors while married — in his professional career. His last victory came at the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, his last trip before his serial infidelity was uncovered.