Tiger Woods Reflects on His Infidelities and Marriage to Elin Nordegren, Former Relationship with Lindsey Vonn in Time

Golf star opens up about his mistakes

By Francesca Bacardi Dec 03, 2015 5:59 PMTags
Tiger Woods, U.S. Open Round OneHarry How/Getty Images

Tiger Woods' personal life and career have both had their highs and lows through the years, and now that he is recovering from back surgery he's reflecting on his life and what he wishes he could change.

The pro golfer's life came to a crashing halt—literally—in 2009 when he and then-wife Elin Nordegren were in a car accident. Shortly after a massive scandal, in which Woods would admit to cheating on his wife, would come to light and everything the public thought they knew about the star athlete would come into question. Dubbed a serial cheater, Woods publicly apologized and he and Nordegren got divorced.

Looking back, Woods, 39, tells Time there are some things he wished turned out differently. "In hindsight, it's not how I would change 2009 and how it all came about. It would be having a more open, honest relationship with my ex-wife," he explains. "Having the relationship that I have now with her is fantastic. She's one of my best friends. We're able to pick up the phone, and we talk to each other all the time."

He continues, "We both know that the most important things in our lives are our kids. I wish I would have known that back then."

Now he and Nordegren focus on co-parenting their kids, Sam Woods and Charlie Woods, to the best of their ability, which can be hard given Woods' infidelities.

"I've told [Nordegren] this, I've taken the initiative with the kids, and told them up front, 'Guys, the reason why we're not in the same house, why we don't live under the same roof, Mommy and Daddy, is because Daddy made some mistakes,'" he tells Time. "I just want them to understand before they get to Internet age and they log on to something or have their friends tell them something. I want it to come from me so that when they come of age, I'll just tell them the real story."

Woods says most of the media had it out for him when the scandal first broke, but he still has some friends who see his side. "I have a lot of good friends in the media. Guys I've gone out to dinner with on countless occasions. With respect. There's also a flip side of people that I really don't care for," he admits. "Hey, they made their career being negative and being outlandish. They've made a career out of it. But that's their take. They've almost created a character, per se."

After some time out of the spotlight, Woods was able to work his way back into his sport and move on with his life...with Lindsey Vonn, the incredibly successful skier. Sadly, the two called it quits after three years together because their schedules never lined up.

"We never had time together," he tells the publication. "It's a relationship that was fantastic, but it just can't work on that level. It just could not work. It was doing an injustice to both of us."