Previously Known For: As Tiger Woods’ and Elin Nordegren’s Daughter
|Currently Known For: As Tiger Woods’ and Elin Nordegren’s Daughter|
“How can you love something so much that didn’t exist the day before? We never experienced anything like that. That was special and something that we want to experience again.” With Tiger Woods praised as one of the most successful golfers of all time, it’s not hard to imagine that the 42-year-old father of two is anxious to share the sport with his 10-year-old daughter, Sam Alexis Woods. Of course, it’s hard to talk about Sam without talking about her famous father and her stunning mother, Swedish model Elin Nordegren, as well as her parent’s whirlwind romance and the catastrophic scandal that ended their marriage in 2010. So, what are the juicy details about Sam, her parents and even her younger brother, Charlie? Let’s take a look!
Long before he ever thought about falling in love and starting a family, Eldrick Tont Woods was born on December 30, 1975 as the only son of Earl and Kutilda Woods. Nicknamed “Tiger” but known as “Sam” to his father, Tiger was two years old when his father first put a golf club in his hands. Before long, the young Tiger was a veteran on the golf course and caught the attention of the media after he putted against comedian Bob Hope on The Mike Douglas Show in 1978. By the age of five, he appeared in Golf Digest and went on to win the Junior World Championship title six times before beating his father for the first time at 11 years old.
Tiger continued to find success on the amateur circuit and, at 20 years old, joined the PGA Tour. A year later, he won his first major tournament and took home $486,000 at the 1997 Masters as he reached the top of the world rankings. Signing dozens of endorsement deals for brands like Nike and Buick, he held the top-ranked title for over 400 weeks from 1999 to 2010 and amassed an astounding net worth of $740 million, not to mention his 14 championship titles and 78 PGA Tour events. Then, as if to prove he truly could have it all, he caught the attention of a Swedish model named Elin Nordegren at The Open Championship in 2001 while Nordegren worked as a nanny for his competitor, Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik. Although Nordegren shied away from dating celebrities, love was in the air as the couple spent the next two years dating before announcing their engagement in November 2003. A year later, they exchanged vows on the 19th hole of the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados before returning to their $39-million estate in Jupiter Island, Florida.
As Tiger’s career blossomed, his life at home flourished as Nordegren enrolled in school to study child psychiatry. Then, in late 2006, the couple announced they were expecting their first child. On June 14, 2007 as Tiger played in the US Open, Nordegren was hospitalized. “It wasn’t life-threatening or anything, but she just had a few problems and had to be admitted,” Tiger reported. “It was not easy because I wanted to be there. And the doctor and Elin said, ‘There’s nothing you can do. So, go out there and just get a ‘W.’ Well, I came close but that night was infinitely more rewarding than any ‘W’ ever could have been.” The night was June 18, 2007 when Tiger and Nordegren welcomed Sam Alexis Woods into the world shortly after his second-place finish.
“I flew, landed in Orlando, went straight to the hospital and the next thing you know, we have Sam Alexis in our arms,” Tiger recalled of his daughter’s birth. Then, as fans clamored to learn her name, Tiger explained how Sam’s birth on Father’s Day weekend was the greatest tribute he could ever give to his own father. “We wanted to have a name that would be meaningful to either side of the family, my side or Elin’s side, because she was born the day after Father’s Day,” Tiger said. “It just happened to fit. My father had always called me ‘Sam’ since the day I was born. He rarely ever called me ‘Tiger.’ I would ask him, ‘Why don’t you ever call me Tiger?’ He says, ‘Well, you look more like a Sam.’”
Over the next two years, the family of three lived quietly at their Florida estate while Tiger continued to make waves on the golf course. Then, in 2009, they welcomed their son, Charlie Axel, into the world as Tiger gushed over the wonders and chaos of fatherhood. “I couldn’t be happier where I am right now,” Tiger said. “Having the two kids is just unbelievable, how much fun we’re all having, except the sleepless nights—that can be a little rough at times, but other than that, it’s just been incredible.”
The dream, however, was short-lived for Tiger and Nordegren when, on November 25, 2009, The National Enquirer published a story outing Tiger for cheating on his wife with Rachel Uchitel, a New York City nightclub manager. Although Tiger initially denied the rumors, things only declined when he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant down the street from his home. Left with lacerations on his face, the paparazzi accused Nordegren of chasing him with a golf club but, ultimately, the rumors were put to rest when Tiger admitted that he’d been unfaithful over the last four years with over a dozen women. By December 2009, Tiger had lost most of his endorsement deals as he announced his brief retirement from golf to focus on his marriage.
Although Tiger and Nordegren did their best to reconcile, the damage had already been done as Tiger completed 45 days of therapy and returned to the golf course for the 2010 Masters Tournament. By August, the couple filed for divorced and vowed to co-parent as friends and, over the last seven years, they’ve done exactly that with Tiger taking great pride in his children and even teaching Sam how to play golf at an early age. Although Sam seems to prefer soccer these days, she caddied for her dad during a Masters Par-3 Contest. “Sam doesn’t like for me to help her hold a golf club,” he said. “She’ll figure it out herself. The best thing in the world is to watch her grow…”
Today, Tiger’s biggest challenge is living up to the golfer his kids know from watching YouTube videos, since he hasn’t been at the top of his game in over a decade. “I never thought my kids have understood what I’ve been able to do in the game of golf because they always think I’m the YouTube golfer,” he says. “They’ve never seen me in action.” Hopefully, they’ll get to see him on the greens very soon!