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. Really?

    Of course he is happier! He has no more responibility. His dad was a player, he's a player!

    November 18, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. cecilia

    good to know one more man in this world who hurt his children and wife, made a fool of himself, hurt his mom and many fans – is feeling happy. IF WE CAN SEND ONE MAN TO THE MOON -WHY CANT WE SEND THEM ALL

    November 18, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Translation

      Much easier to send you there.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • I can see you are hurt deeply by this

      I recommend buying all the tabloids in the check out line at the supermarket, there is a lot of 'meaningful' topics to be hurt by, I saw just the other day that the Martians have invaded and taken over field hockey... well worth your time

      November 18, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Steve (the real one)

    We have an unreasonable habit of equatiing outer beauty with inner beauty. None of us knows how Tiger and his ex-wife lived! Not pointing fiinger at either of them. Just stating we don't know! We do know he cheated but we don't don't much of anything about Elin! Honestly, that is how it should be!

    November 18, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Stevie Boy,
      We know she did not care about Tiger because when she figured out he was cheating one her she took a 9 Iron to his head.If I cheated on my wife and she found out i would probably be dead right now.

      November 18, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. David

    Just don't get married anymore! Marriage life is EXTREMELY difficult. Woods is Woods. He did what other golfers on tour did. How many marriages you think are doing great? Then a turn around... divorce. Please, do not interject God into this conversation.... it is just rubbish.

    I say people who are single are a LOT happier.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Britney

      Married life is not extremely difficult if you want to be married, love the one you're with and choose to be honest and faithful to them. For someone like Tiger- yeah, I'm sure it was difficult, most women would throw themselves at him. He chose to get married and have a thoughts are that if you choose to do that, you're choosing to grow up and be faithful, which he had a slight problem with.

      I'll always watch the game and enjoy watching Tiger play, but as for his personal life, he's a complete dirtbag.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Britney you have a point.... He should have not gotten married. We agree on this. Still, of course marriage is not for everyone. But in this life, I guarantee you it is just not so simple and easy to say ohh, I'll look at other women but I won't touch. In an ordinary relationship, I guarantee both sides have looked if only for a moment at another person. We don't acknowledge it but it is true. I married my college sweetheart, only to find out how DIFFICULT it is. She's great and all that, but school (gruaduate), my regular lifestyle is tough to balance. (I will also admit a bit that I have not cheated, but when a girl classmate ask to study sometimes, I'm forced to divert the conversation because the temptation is soo great).

      November 18, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Translation

    Come on, CNN! Elin Nordegern was never a supermodel. She was a rich kid, a nanny, and did little modeling. The only thing "super" she ever did was marry someone with elite status.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • AMC

      I thought that was funny, too. She's a beautiful woman, but she was never even close to being a "super model."

      November 18, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. puzzled

    I don't understand why Tiger just didn't stay single....

    What the media frenzy did to him was wrong too..Camping outside his house and chasing him down

    November 18, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. jawn

    what about the millions of kids for whom you were a role model? have you anything to say about how you let them dowbn, perhaps even scarred them for life? irresponsible, still in denial, can only think of himself. how pathetic...

    November 18, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Translation

      Oh, please. He was a role model for them because he played a sport very well. He's still a great golfer and will probably ascend to the top again. If anything, kids will have learned to have realistic expectations of people they put on a pedestal.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • ohhiya

      Millions of kids?.... what kind of kids look up to tiger woods? Besides, they have 50 cents and snoop dog who don't cheat on their wifes. Which when seeing snoop dogs wife you can understand, she is both hot and pretty intimidating at the same time.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cartman

    I hope he and Elin get back together so I can play that EA Golf game again...

    November 18, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lisa

    Would author Jim Kavanaugh please define "supermodel?" Apparently, it doesn't mean what I thought it meant.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sir Walter

    This is news......slow day at CNN I guess.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Tiger- always looking for a hole ine one

    November 18, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • hole in one

      but ended up in the rough

      November 18, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Translation

      Maybe he found out there's more than one woman who will make his putter stand up.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • I think he found making the driving with a wood better

      Having wood was the better play

      November 18, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. MrNoDoze

    I love people who read a few tabloids and think they know how wonderful someone is. Celebs love living in the spotlight when things are good and there is money to be made. When things head south then they want their privacy. For some fans their idol can do no wrong, but I think the consumers have a right to know the types of people they are supporting by buying their products. You can't have one without the other.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ludwig

    Since when is Elin a "supermodel"?

    November 18, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Translation

      Since CNN fabricated it for this article. Ha!

      November 18, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • not the first time CNN kept us from important facts

      we need to call them on this, the news is too important to not label this woman correctly

      November 18, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jay

    A man is as faithful as his opportunities when he is not happy at home. And it's not just man – women are very good at it when they have affairs. And Steve you are right we don't know what was going on in Tiger and Erin's home.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Translation

    I don't know anyone - are YOU the exception? - who chooses to put a sports star or celebrity or someone like that on a pedestal because they admire their personal life. That's not why they gain fame to begin with. They gain fame for excelling at something. How about we have realistic expectations of people in the first place?

    November 18, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
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