Woods attempts to move on from divorce

Tiger Woods speaks with the media after The Barclays pro-am on Aug. 25.

Tiger Woods speaks with the media after The Barclays pro-am on Aug. 25.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The questions came rapid fire. Two days after Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren announced they had divorced, Woods put on his best face for the media on the eve of The Barclays. The most hard-hitting of the bunch had nothing to do with his major-less streak or his plans for revamping his swing, and everything to do with an age-old question aimed at the heart.

“Do you still love her?” Woods was asked.

“I wish her the best with everything,” he answered. “You know, it’s a sad time in our lives.”

It was a classic Tiger non-answer, a scripted reply when apparently neither yes nor no would do.

Why is it that the simplest questions are always the toughest to address?

The reporter pressed on: “Do you still love her?”

photo

Tiger Woods

We may never know.

It was a fitting end to the soap opera-like turn of events since Woods’ life turned on its axis after he crashed into a fire hydrant outside his home in November. The “Do you still love her” sequence is destined to play ad nauseam on Golf Channel, let alone the programs “Extra” and “Entertainment Tonight.”

And though Woods wouldn’t take the bait, deflecting the question as if waving a Star Wars light saber, he answered most questions with surprising candor. Woods admitted that the divorce proceedings played havoc with his life, his golf and even his on-course concentration. While he continues to wall off the world from the details of his divorce, golf’s most mentally tough paid assassin revealed chinks in his armor.

“It was a lot more difficult than I was letting on,” Woods said. “We’re trying to get our kids situated to our new living conditions and how that’s going to be. That’s where our focus is going to be right now.”

In hindsight, did we really expect him to stroll into Pebble Beach or St. Andrews and play like the Tiger of 2000 as his marriage unraveled? Defeats on the golf course have been mere flesh wounds compared to the pain and anguish Woods likely has suffered – both publicly and privately. Nordegren tells her story to People magazine, though it’s doubtful we’ll ever know the unvarnished truth.

Sprinkled in to the questions on the continuing saga of his personal life, Woods discussed the state of his game, acknowledging that he worked with instructor Sean Foley two more times while at home.

“We worked on the same stuff that we worked on at the PGA (Championship),” Woods said. “It’s just a matter of getting it more solidified. I just need reps.”

As for re-tooling his golf swing again, something he’s done previously with Butch Harmon and Hank Haney earlier in his career, Woods said, “It’s an undertaking that I have to wrap my head around because it’s going to take some time.”

Woods also dismissed the notion that this was a lost year for him professionally.

“I don’t look at it like that,” he said. “Every year, you have to find the positives. Even though there are a lot of negatives, I think that’s actually a good thing because I learned a lot about myself and how I could become a better player.”

Woods could salvage the season with a successful FedEx Cup run that could amount to a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal. Entering the tournament at No. 112 in the FedEx Cup standings out of the 121 players in the field, Woods may be starting from the back of the pack rather than the pole position, but his strategy remains unchanged.

“I think it’s very simple,” he said. “Winning takes care of everything.” 

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