WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Tiger Woods spoke of his commitment to his family during an interview screened in New Zealand on Tuesday that was conducted before his car crash and subsequent admission of several infidelities.
Asked in the interview “family first and golf second … always been that way?” Woods replied: “Always. Always.”
He goes on to say that having a family – he has two young children with wife Elin Nordegren – “has been great, actually, the best thing that ever happened.”
The interview was conducted on Nov. 17 – 10 days before the accident outside his Florida family home which prompted reports of marital strife. The world’s No. 1 golfer later admitted to liaisons with other women.
Woods says he has applied time management skills learned at Stanford University to his dual roles as a golfer and father and had been more focused as a player since he became a family man.
“I don’t practice as much as I used to. I don’t spend the amount of hours on the golf course, not like I used to” he said.
“But my focus is so much more intense than it used to be. … I know whatever I have to get done (has to be done) in a shorter amount of time.”
The interview, conducted in Melbourne, Australia, where Woods was playing in the Australian Masters, was due to be aired on Christmas but New Zealand’s Sky Sport moved it up after the revelations about Woods’ private life.
The interview also dealt with Woods’ 10-year relationship with his New Zealand-born caddie Steve Williams. Williams has denied any knowledge of Woods’ extramarital relationships but has said the golfer has since confided in him.
During the interview Woods said he and Williams are “great friends”.
“We talk about anything and everything together,” he said.
Williams told interviewer Murray Deaker he and Woods had a relationship that was “just like a marriage really.”
“The longer you go on, the more you know about one another,” Williams said.
Woods said his basic values had been shaped by his mother Kultida, who was the family disciplinarian.
“You’d think Dad, being a Special Forces operator, was the tough guy. No, he was always the softie,” Woods said, laughing and shaking his head. “My mom was tough.”