December 11, 2009
Other than being lampooned as a golf-club-wielding, modern-day cavewoman bent on either bashing or rescuing her mate, she has been the forgotten woman in this debacle.
That could be just the way she wants it.
Elin Nordegren Woods, 29, is invariably described as an intensely private person. Focused on her family, homes and fitness regimen, she shuns the nightlife her husband apparently loves. Now that his personal life is under a worldwide microscope, she has retreated even further into her tight, protective circle of family and closest friends.
"I see her in the neighborhood jogging or pushing her babies in a double stroller. She's a very healthy mother. She looks wonderful for having two babies in a row," said Jacqueline Siegel, who lives in the upscale Isleworth development where the Woodses own a $2.4 million home.
Elin plays on the Isleworth tennis team, attends friends' baby showers and answers her own front door to hand out candy to Halloween trick-or-treaters, but she is not involved in the local community, Siegel said.
"She seems to be a really sweet, maybe shy type of person. I've tried to get a few favors from her for some of our events, but didn't have any luck," Siegel said. "She's more the type of mother who stays home and takes care of the children when her husband goes out. She doesn't go out to a lot of clubs."
"Private" and "family-oriented" — that's also how others in the Orlando area describe Elin Woods, who has not commented publicly about the accusations against her husband. Even at PGA tournaments, she tends to disappear as soon as she sees cameras pointed in her direction.
"I have tried to get her involved in a couple of things, but she seems to keep very much to herself," said Sonja Haltiwanger, a member of Orlando's Downtown Arts District's executive council.
Elin Woods is rarely seen in shops, restaurants or nightclubs. She did not participate in a fundraiser organized by the wives of local golfers at the Mall at Millenia during the Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament last year, said Brenda Lounsberry, the mall's marketing director. The manager of one of the mall's most upscale boutiques has only twice spotted her shopping at Millenia in the seven years he has worked at the mall.
Even Suzi Karr, known as Orlando's Realtor to the Stars, has never met Tiger's elusive spouse.
Born Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren in Stockholm, Sweden, on Jan. 1, 1980, she is the daughter of Thomas Nordegren, a journalist who served as Swedish radio a bureau chief in Washington, D.C., and Barbro Holmberg, a politician who is currently in Orlando and was rushed to the hospital this week after passing out in the Woods home. Elin has a twin sister, Josefin, and an older brother, Axel.
As girls, the sisters worked as supermarket cashiers to help pay for their schooling. Elin started modeling in 2000 and that year appeared on the cover of Cafe Sport magazine in a swimsuit.
About the same time, the twins moved to Florida to work as au pairs for Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik.
"Mostly [I'm moving] to just have it good, meet some friends and play some golf," she told Cafe Sport.
Parnevik introduced Elin to Tiger Woods at the 2001 British Open — a move he said he regrets in the latest issue of Life & Style. "We probably thought [Tiger] was a better guy than he is," Parnevik said.
While attending the Presidents Cup tournament in South Africa in November 2003, Tiger proposed to Elin on a visit to the luxurious Shamwari Game Reserve. They were married the following October.
The wedding took place at sunset under a white-netted pagoda decorated with red roses by the 19
Tiger rented the entire complex for a week, including three golf courses and 110 rooms with rates ranging from $700 to $9,000 a night. The event reportedly cost almost $2 million.
The couple's first child, daughter Sam Alexis, was born June 18, 2007. Son Charlie Axel arrived on Feb. 8 this year.
In addition to their Isleworth homes, the couple have others, including a 10,000 square-foot mansion on Jupiter Island in South Florida, where they keep their multimillion-dollar yacht, Privacy. This month, Swedish newspapers reported Elin Woods and her twin sister paid just more than $2 million for the Faglaro Mansion on a small secluded island near Stockholm.
Reachable only by ferry, it appears to be the ideal retreat for someone craving privacy.
Jean Patteson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5158.
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