The Daily Beast has a look at the life of possible SUV basher Elin Nordegren Woods, a discreet "cipher" of a woman who couldn't have been more perfect for Tiger if she'd come tattooed with a Nike Swoosh.
Jacob Bernstein reports:
"You could point to a thousand candidates for a professional athlete to choose from for a wife and she was maybe No. 1," one golf-industry acquaintance tells The Daily Beast.
The person goes on to describe Nordegren as "lovely and intelligent," an "omnipresent" attendee at her husband's matches-at least until the birth of the couple's first child, in 2007-who was always there but "never stepped into the spotlight or did anything wacky."
Nordegren didn't even complain publicly when she suffered complications during that pregnancy. She wound up giving birth in the hospital on her own via Caesarean section, while Woods remained on the golf course competing in the U.S. Open.
Says the source: "I can only speak from their public appearances and very few private ones, but they seemed not to have any kind of conflict. What we think happened probably did, but there was no evidence of it. This wasn't like Dennis Rodman, who lived out his hostile relationships in the press."
What we do know of Elin comes mainly from Alan Shipnuck's 2004 story in Sports Illustrated, in which she's characterized as a sort of Garbo of the links, sharing with her husband both a deft feel for image management and an intense wish for privacy (the yacht on which they spent their wedding night was named "Privacy," according to Bernstein). The daughter of a Swedish journalist and a social worker, Elin was a reluctant swimsuit model in her late teens, apparently more interested in becoming a child psychologist. She was working in a Stockholm clothing boutique when a chance encounter with Jesper Parnevik's wife led to a job as the Parneviks' nanny. Shipnuck, bizarrely:
Of course, Nordegren's arrival begs the question: Since she is such an attractive young woman.... "Did I worry my husband was going to screw the nanny?" [Mia] Parnevik says. "Is that what you're asking? Of course not. My marriage has a lot more trust than that."
Actually, the question was going to be, Since Elin is such an attractive young woman, did you anticipate that she would attract attention from the eligible bachelors on Tour?
"No, because she had no interest in golf or golfers," says Mia. "She thought they were so silly and was always making fun of them." Another deterrent was that Nordegren still had a serious boyfriend back in Sweden, a young man who worked in real estate.
Tiger soon embarked on a clumsy courtship — a friend of his supposedly asked her out on his behalf — and by March 2002, Nordegren was appearing at his side at golf tournaments. She'd already worked out a deal with a fashion photographer from her modeling days, the awesomely monikered Bingo Rimer, whereby Bingo could release only the photos she approved. There would soon be the engagement and the $1.5 million Barbados wedding, which was such a model of expensive banality that it's a wonder Hootie and the Blowfish didn't play the reception (wait, they did). But before any of that, Tiger had to introduce Elin to golf. It seems she wasn't big on the game until Tiger came along. And so once upon a time, Shipnuck wrote in 2004, five years before their marriage became every Lifetime movie ever, the two occasionally could be found on the driving range at an Orlando country club, where Tiger taught Elin how to swing a club at something other than rear windshields.