November 18th, 2010
08:54 AM ET

Tiger Woods says he's 'infinitely' happier now

Tiger Woods blasts out of a sand trap Sunday at the Australian Masters tournament in Melbourne. He finished three strokes behind winner Stuart Appleby.

Golfer Tiger Woods says he's "infinitely" happier now than he was just before his private and professional life exploded into scandal a year ago.

"I'm so much better now because of this past year," he said during a frank, 26-minute telephone interview Thursday morning on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" show. "It's been very difficult for a lot of people, especially those closest to me, but I'm better for it."

On Thanksgiving night last year, Woods crashed his car outside his Florida home, an event that led to revelations of numerous extramarital affairs and liaisons and ultimately to divorce from his wife, supermodel Elin Nordegren. Woods took several months off from golf while undergoing psychological therapy.

"The worst part of it was those closest to me, the ones I loved and cared about so much, were the ones most hurt by my behavior," Woods said. "(But) I feel so much better, and everything is in so much better perspective now."

He said he would tell his children the truth about what he did, "eyeball to eyeball," when they are old enough to understand.

"They were feeling the effects of it, unfortunately, and I was responsible for it," he said.

Woods said he learned how "strong and resilient" his closest friends are.

"If you're lucky enough to have three people in your life that you're very close to, you're very blessed," he said.

He said he's been gratified by how the public has treated him since his return to the game.

"Actually, people have been more respectful and thankful and want to see me actually get back out there and do well," he said. "... It's amazing the kind of reception I get, how positive it is."

He said he is "infinitely" happier now than he was before the scandal broke.

"I was doing things that morally I knew inside I shouldn't be doing, and when you go against your core values and how I was raised as a person, you're going to struggle with that. ... I wasn't the person I used to be, the person my parents raised me to be, and I knew that."

Getting back out on the golf course at the Masters tournament in April helped him move forward, he said: "When it came down to tournament time, all the stuff I'd been going through just went away."

Although he has a new, "more balanced" perspective on life, he's still determined to be the best golfer he can be and to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major victories.

"I have the same drive to get better. That's an everyday process. I can get better as a player and as a person, and that's what I'm trying to do," Woods said.

"I need to play better!" he added with a laugh.

As another Thanksgiving approaches, Woods said he's most thankful to have his children and have the opportunity to "teach them something new every day," as his father, the late Earl Woods, did with him.

"He always tried to teach me something. Each and every day would be life lessons, whatever they may be. I try to do the same thing with my kids, and it's just a blast."

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Filed under: Celebrity • Golf • Sports • Tiger Woods
soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. taz

    ?

    November 19, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jay

    Where were these so-called "closest" friends that Woods said helped him through it, when he was porking all those H0s? What a joke this guy is. He knew exactly what he was doing to Elin and his kids and his ego was so huge (among something else) that he did NOT care about his wife and kids. He hasn't changed, he just hates all the money he's lost do to tournaments and sponsors and his divorce, that's all he's sad about and trying to make back up. The guy showed his true colors, NOW he is trying to be someoone he is not. What a fake and a poor excuse for a person. I find out my dad was like that, I'd never speak to him again.

    November 19, 2010 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Nostradufus

      There! Feel better now? You've vented all your frustrations and hate. I hope it helps as you go back to your useless, loser life.

      December 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • harley

      Jay – If your father did what Tiger did, you would never speak to him again? Granted, Tiger may have a big ego, yes, he hurt his family, yes he was wrong.....so glad to know there is someone perfect here that is posting messages, and that you would not be able to forgive your own father if he was in the same situation. I am really surprised you are still around, you know – since you're perfect and all – but in case you're not perfect, hope you don't make a mistake some day and have someone refuse to ever speak to you again, especially a family member.

      January 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. taz

    .....

    November 19, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GreenerGreens

    I'm sure he is happier for having the luxury of a PR person writing this for him. Secrets rot the soul. He threw his family under the bus for a flock of floozies. He doesn't need to work as hard to keep his creepy secrets, he's got to feel better. His entire story is creepy, doesn't matter what ethnic family this story could have been linked. I hope he heals, Elin heals and his children eventually find a way to lead as normal lives. I don't know how a person gets over something like this. Millions of dollars later, the story lingers and he will be remembered each Thanksgiving for slamming his SUV into a tree and women falling out everywhere. No matter how well he is received, he will be remember for his actions. I respect his golfing ability, I would receive him well even though I have no respect for him. Pathetic, simply pathetic.

    November 24, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. melinda

    all i have to say is you go tiger. you're great!!! way to turn your life around and only get better. with a life changing lesson to share with everybody. love the fact you love your kids and teach them everyday. its only up from here

    December 14, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. BoFo

    Unbelievable! Everything about this man is so phony!

    December 16, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • MSSZRD

      Yeah, just read the line: "It's been very difficult for a lot of people, especially those closest to me, but I'm better for it."
      He hasn't changed one bit, it's still all about him.

      January 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Skeptic

    No doubt he's happier. He got rid of a gold digger.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • De

      Yes, I'm glad for tiger...Maybe next time he'll marry someone he can relate to and who's not just after his money.

      December 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • bro

      I'm sure he's happier without the Mrs swinging a golf club at his face.

      December 30, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. me

    let's all place a microscope over some of the events in some of our own lives and see what surfaces....and just think – you are not famous so no one would give a second thought about you because to them you dont even matter. stop judging others so much and take a good look in the mirror and at you own actions, past and present. live your life.

    December 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NewsreaderTN

    Umm.... I believe Elin was a nanny, and not a supermodel, prior to marrying Mr. Woods......

    December 18, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. gladmanhand

    I don't know Erin or Tiger-never will. I do know that if you really love a woman
    deeply, you'll not get over a breakup in a year. I don't know if it was already in the making (their emotional separation), but his "happiness" declaration is perhaps asserting himself to move on. Either way- "Play Ball!"

    December 28, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • jonathan

      It would be so easy to get over such a thing with so much money still in your own hands..and the perceived future ahead of Woods is from our perspective very bright..Tiger can still see such great potential in ahead ...always when you have a tramatic experience LOOK AHEAD....infact that's tehbest way to get over anything....

      God spoiled my mother's funeral for me..when he spoke to me saying, "she's in a better place.:..since then I have always looked to Him..and since he is who he is , i have always expected good things..because I belong to Him.. :)

      December 31, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. skidaddle

    Of course he's happier now, he can "swing his wood" like a drunk sailor with no fear of retribution

    December 29, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. Don't purchase anything with Tiger's name on ot

    Tiger needs some serious medical help! This guy is a fake, has made millions by living a life of lies and showing disregard of good morals and values and truly failed his wife and children.

    What kind of person/man does this to his loving family??? A cheat, selfish individual who has not moral values in his life and truly broke all 10 commandments and now he says he is happier (give me a break Tiger), don't purchase anything with his name on it and companies need to take away all contracts or the public will stop buying from you!

    January 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Henk

    ...against his core values....hahaha don't make me laugh.

    January 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Solee

    Typical Swedish arrogance. Don't know why everyone makes her out to be such a victim in this relationship. Elin was a BABYSITTER, Jasper Parnevik introduced them while she was working for him. Tilger was a philanderer, still is, She got what she wanted, he got what he wanted...the end. She can find consolation in her kids, his money and her new boyfriends arms...

    January 5, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Susan

    As the primary "chief" of how our six figure family income is spent....the minute I see anything associated with Tiger Woods being pitched or carried by a store, I turn around and walk out. Not complicated and easy to do. There are limits to how much BS I will take from "Celebs" and those who choose to hitch their wagons to them.

    January 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
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