After nine months of turmoil over his extramarital affairs, Tiger Woods and his Swedish-born wife officially divorced on Monday.
The hearing lasted no more than 10 minutes in a Florida judge’s chambers. Woods now begins life as a single dad.
“We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future,” Woods and Elin Nordegren said in a joint statement released by their lawyers.
The divorce was granted shortly after 2pm in Bay County Circuit Court in Panama City, Florida, about 600km from their Isleworth home outside Orlando, where Woods drove his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree on Thanksgiving night last year. That set off shocking revelations that sports’ biggest star had been cheating on his wife through multiple affairs.
Woods’ life and golf game have been in disarray ever since.
He and Nordegren were married Oct. 5, 2004, in Barbados and have a three-year-old daughter, Sam, and an 18-month-old son, Charlie.
Terms of the divorce — such as how much it will cost Woods — were not disclosed. They said only that they will “share parenting” of their two children.
The divorce was finalized by Bay County Circuit Judge Judy Pittman Biebel during a 10-minute hearing in a conference room in her chambers, according to Biebel’s judicial assistant, Kim Gibson.
Woods and Nordegren were present, along with their lawyers, Gibson said.
“I don’t comment on active cases,” Thomas Sasser, Woods’ divorce attorney, said.
Asked why they chose to file in Panama City, Sasser said it was a joint decision by the lawyers.
Nordegren’s attorneys — including her twin sister, London-based Josefin Lonnborg — referred all questions to the statement.
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, declined to comment when asked if the couple had a prenuptial agreement or terms of the settlement.
Nordegren, who once worked as a nanny for Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, asked to have her maiden name restored as Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren.
The sordid sex scandal cost Woods three major corporate sponsors — Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade — worth millions of dollars, and he lost his stature as the gold standard in sports endorsements. A month after the scandal became public, Woods spent two months in therapy at a Mississippi clinic with hopes of saving his marriage.
“While we are no longer married, we are the parents of two wonderful children and their happiness has been, and will always be, of paramount importance to both of us,” they said in the statement.
“The weeks and months ahead will not be easy for them as we adjust to a new family situation, which is why our privacy must be a principal concern,” they said.
Some of the court documents indicated that Woods had to focus on his marital woes as well as his golf this summer.
He completed a four-hour course on “Parent Education and Family Stabilization” on July 10, the day before he left to play the British Open. He had won the previous two times at St Andrews by a combined 13 shots, but this time finished 13 shots behind in a tie for 23rd.
The couple signed a marital settlement agreement on July 3 and July 4, the weekend of the AT&T National outside Philadelphia, where Woods failed to break par in a PGA Tour event for the first time in 11 years.
Nordegren completed her four-hour program through FloridaParentingClass.com on Aug. 16, the day after Woods tied for 28th in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. It was the first time in nearly seven years he had finished out of the top 20 in consecutive majors.