Rumors have swirled over the past few months about a romantic relationship budding between Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn, but that speculation has come to an end.
Both Woods and Vonn announced their relationship through their Facebook pages on Monday.
Woods wrote: "This season has been great so far and I’m happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral. Something nice that’s happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continue to compete as athletes."
Meanwhile, Vonn wrote: "I guess it wasn’t a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods. Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy. I don’t plan on addressing this further as I would like to keep that part of my life between us, my family and close friends. Thank you for understanding and your continued support! xo LV"Both said they wanted to keep everything else private.
Woods, 37, posted four photos with Vonn on his Facebook page, while Vonn, 28, had one of those photos on hers and also confirmed the news on her Twitter page.
Since dating rumors began swirling around Woods and Vonn, the 14-time major champion has won two PGA Tour tournaments this season. He will try for No. 3 this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and will try to win his fifth Masters in three weeks.
According to a Daily Mail report last week, Woods and Vonn spent the previous week aboard his luxury yacht, Privacy, while he played in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. The Mail reported that the yacht was stationed while Woods was playing and the two "sailed the Florida seas" after he won the tournament.
That wasn’t the first time Vonn took a trip on one of Woods’ various modes of transportation.
Last month, Woods reportedly sent a private jet to Salzburg, Austria, to pick up Vonn after a violent crash during the Super-G of the Alpine World Championships that ended her season.
The six-time reigning World Cup women’s downhill skiing champ is recovering from right knee surgery after the Feb. 5 crash. Her divorce from Thomas Vonn after more than four years of marriage became official in January. They separated in 2011. Vonn, whose maiden name is Kildow, decided to keep Vonn as her last name after the divorce.
The announcement was one day after the World Cup season ended. Vonn hopes to return in time for the Olympics next year in Sochi.
Woods’ past relationships are far more sensational.
His marriage of five years to Elin Nordegren of Sweden collapsed in 2010 after shocking revelations of multiple extramarital affairs. His infidelity was exposed the night after Thanksgiving in 2009 when he ran his car into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Florida home.
Woods would go on to lose several major sponsors after he admitted to such transgressions, and his golf game collapsed, in part due to injuries.
Woods spent the summer of 2010 working out details of a divorce, which became official in August that year. They share custody of their two children.
The 37-year-old Woods rarely discusses any aspect of his private life, and it was surprising that he acknowledged a relationship with Vonn, much less post studio photos of him, in a short-sleeve Nike golf shirt, and Vonn, in a light blue warm-up jacket. But this would preclude paparazzi making big money when they are photographed together for the first time.
The 28-year-old Vonn is the premier ski racer of her generation, an owner of four World Cup overall titles, along with gold and bronze medals from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that earned her AP Female Athlete of the Year honors. She is the only skier – male or female – to win one of the annual AP awards that date back to 1931.
Dominant against other top female skiers, Vonn petitioned the International Ski Federation to let her compete against men in a downhill race, but the request was rejected last year. Her 59 career World Cup race victories is three shy of the record.
During a conference call with reporters last month to discuss her recovery from the injury, Vonn declined to talk about rumors of a relationship with Woods.
Woods has gone through four surgeries on his left knee, including reconstruction after winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 despite shredded ligaments and two stress fractures of his tibia.
Along with his 14 majors, Woods has won 17 times in the World Golf Championships (no one else has won more than three), and after Bay Hill he will have the record for most weeks (789) in the top 10 of the world ranking dating to 1986.