March 18, 2013

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods say they're dating

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sports has a new power couple: Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn confirmed they're dating.

click image to enlarge

In this 2013 photo provided by Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, golfer Tiger Woods and skier Lindsey Vonn pose for a portrait. Two months after rumors began circulating in Europe, Woods and Vonn posted separate items on their Facebook pages Monday, March 18, 2013, to announce their relationship. (AP Photo/Courtesy Tiger Woods/Lindsey Vonn)

Two months after rumors began circulating in Europe, Woods and Vonn posted separate items on their Facebook pages Monday afternoon to announce their relationship. The posts include photos of golf's 14-time major winner and the Olympic and World Cup downhill ski champion.

"This season has been great so far and I'm happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral," Woods said. "Something nice that's happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating."

Woods made a stop in Austria — where Vonn was competing in the Alpine skiing world championships — in January on his way to Abu Dhabi to start his season. Two weeks ago, after he won the Cadillac Championship at Doral for his second win this year, The Daily Mail published photos that showed a woman, who appeared to be Vonn, in a golf cart at the marina where Woods' yacht "Privacy" was docked.

"I guess it wasn't a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods," Vonn said on her Facebook page. "Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy."

Both said they wanted to keep everything else private.

Woods posted four photos with Vonn on his page, while Vonn's had one of those photos.

Vonn is recovering from right knee surgery — something familiar to Woods — after a Feb. 5 crash that ended her season. Her divorce from Thomas Vonn after more than four years became official in January. They separated in 2011. Vonn, whose maiden name is Kildow, decided to keep Vonn as her last name after the divorce.

The announcement was one day after the World Cup season ended. Vonn hopes to return in time for the Olympics next year in Sochi.

Woods' past relationships are far more sensational.

His marriage of five years to Elin Nordegren of Sweden collapsed in 2010 after shocking revelations of multiple extramarital affairs. His infidelity was exposed the night after Thanksgiving in 2009 when he ran his car into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Florida home.

Woods spent the summer of 2010 working out details of a divorce, which became official in August that year. They share custody of their two children.

The 37-year-old Woods rarely discusses any aspect of his private life, and it was surprising that he acknowledged a relationship with Vonn, much less post studio photos of him, in a short-sleeve Nike golf shirt, and Vonn, in a light blue warm-up jacket. But this would preclude paparazzi making big money when they are photographed together for the first time.

He is playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week at Bay Hill, where he is a seven-time winner and the defending champion. Woods can return to No. 1 in the world for the first time since October 2010 if he wins.

After that, Woods is not expected to play until the Masters on April 11-14.

The 28-year-old Vonn is the premier ski racer of her generation, an owner of four World Cup overall titles, along with gold and bronze medals from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that earned her AP Female Athlete of the Year honors. She is the only skier — male or female — to win one of the annual AP awards that date back to 1931.

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