TIGER Woods spoke of his devotion to his wife and children in an interview recorded just days before the scandal surrounding his personal life broke.
Aired in New Zealand yesterday, the interview sees the troubled golfer asked: “Family first and golf second... always been that way?” to which he replies: “Always. Always.”
It was recorded on November 17, just 10 days before he crashed his car into a fire hydrant and tree outside his home in Florida, an incident that was eventually to lead to his public shaming as a love cheat.
The billionaire sportsman went on to say that having children with wife Elin Nordegren “has been great, actually, the best thing that ever happened”.
The interview was conducted in Melbourne where Woods was playing in the Australian Masters.
It was due to be aired over the Christmas holiday, but New Zealand’s Sky Sport screened it early due to the global interest surrounding his private life.
In the New Zealand interview, he told of how he split his time between the game and his family life.
“I don’t practice as much as I used to. I don’t spend the amount of hours on the golf course, not like I used to,” he said, adding: “But my focus is so much more intense than it used to be. I know whatever I have done has to be done in a shorter amount of time.”
Meanwhile, Cori Rist, a blonde model who claims to have had an affair with Woods, has alleged the golfer would lie awake in bed with her sending text messages to other girls.
She said she had believed she was “the only one” with whom the sportsman was cheating on his wife.
“I would wake up sometimes in the night in hotels with him and hear him text messaging,” the 31-year-old told NBC’s Today show.
“I’d lay there and realised he would be having a conversation, so I suspected there were others. I asked who he was texting, and he would say [he was] checking emails.”
She said it was “disappointing” to learn she was not his only mistress “because I think we all would like to think we were special”.
After Woods, 33, withdrew from golf to supposedly try to save his marriage, an 11th woman has been named as a former mistress.
Theresa Rogers, from south Florida, is different to the others in that she is significantly older — now in her 40s — and she was seeing Woods both before and after he got married.
She claimed she travelled extensively with him over the past five years.
Last Friday — two weeks after the early hours accident — the golfer admitted an “infidelity”. It followed lurid allegations of affairs with almost a dozen women in US tabloids.
In a statement posted on his website, he said he intended to take an “indefinite break” from professional golf.
The statement led to movement from some of his most lucrative sponsors, with consultancy firm Accenture cutting ties with the shamed sportsman.
Shaving giant Gillette also distanced itself from Woods, while US phone company AT&T and Swiss watchmakers Tag Heuer said it was still considering its options regarding contracts with the golfer.
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