Built to last?
Relationship experts weigh in on whether Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn have any staying power as a couple
Published on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013 03:32PM EDT Last updated on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013 03:43PM EDT
So now that everyone has had some time to digest the Tiger Woods-Lindsey Vonn announcement, it’s time to trot out the nay-sayers and relationship “experts” for their take on the newest sports super couple.
Dr. Wendy Walsh, a Los Angeles-based psychologist and relationship expert and author of The 30-Day Love Detox, told USA TODAY Sports that while Woods and Vonn make a pretty pair in pictures, their chances of success are “pretty slim”.
“They will have far more challenges than most people have. They're under such a microscope. It's just really hard to have a normal relationship with the world looking around every corner.” she said.
“Every time he talks to a pretty girl on the golf course, Lindsey is going to hear about it," said Dr. Walsh.
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, a relationship therapist in New York City and author of Make Up, Don't Break Up, also noted the physical resemblance of Vonn to Tiger's ex-wife Elin Nordegren, saying, “It's one way of him trying to make up for what happened (in the past). He could be looking to replace her."
Weil also noted that both could be good for each other as they have travelled a somewhat similar road lately.
"Both are trying to overcome a painful past and get on with a new beginning. They can help each other work through old relationships. ...I would say what they have is pseudo-intimacy. I do not think it has a chance for the long haul."
Interesting to note that back in 2010, during the Winter Olympics when Woods publicly addressed his sex scandal, Vonn was quoted in a Time Magazine article mocking Tiger.
“And like millions of Americans, Vonn can't help poking fun at Woods' staged event. When a member of her Vonn-tourage tells her that Woods gave a few friends hugs after ending his statement, she cracks, 'They're like, 'Yeah, you're awesome, you go have that sex.' ' The room breaks into a laugh. Then she describes a skit she would want to perform if asked to host Saturday Night Live: picture Vonn at Woods' podium, blue backdrop and all. 'There's something you don't know about me,' Vonn says in a faux solemn, apologetic voice. 'Tiger, you're like my idol, and I too have a sex problem.' More laughter. 'That would be freaking funny.'"
The union of the two is also a clash of two big business titans. Nike, which has been a long time sponsor of Woods, and Under Armour, which is aligned with Vonn. Now, while Under Armour doesn’t compete with Nike on the golf stage, the two are fierce rivals when it comes to shoes and other apparel. Nike would appear to have the upper hand so far as, of the photos released by both Woods and Vonn, the Swoosh is definitely more visible than the UA logo.
Woods doesn’t need to look very far to see just how one goes about managing a relationship with a high profile sports figure. Newly minted Nike stableboy and current world number one golfer Rory McIlroy and former tennis number one Caroline Wozniacki have been pretty open about their relationship, taking to Twitter and other forms of social media to give a glimpse of their private lives while in each others company. McIlroy even joked recently about tabloid reports that his recent form of bad luck was tied to a potential breakup with his girlfriend.
Other sports super couples that Woods can draw from include former tennis greats Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, soccer player David Beckham and wife VIctoria, a former Spice Girl and NFL quarterback Tom Brady and former Victoria Secret supermodel Gisele Bundchen - all of whom have managed to survive the prying eyes of the tabloid press.
Still, it hasn’t taken long for several betting houses to post odds on the couple's chances. Oddsmaker Bovada is giving 4-to-1 odds that the pair will be engaged by Jan. 1, 2015.
YOUNG GUN: A 12-year-old Chinese schoolboy has become the youngest golfer to qualify for a European Tour event.
Ye Wocheng survived a late wobble at a two day qualifying event on Wednesday to grab one of three spots in the Volvo China Open, which will be played in May.
That betters the mark of Ye’s compatriot, Guan Tianlang, who was 13 years old when he competed in the China Open last year. Guan is set to become the youngest player ever to compete at the Masters next month after winning the Asian Amateur Championship last year.
Ye lives in the industrial city of Donggaun in Guangdong province where he is a member of the local Hillview Golf Club.
Eighteen-year-old Li Xinyang and Jin Da Xing finished tied for first at the qualifier and along with Ye were the only players to finish under par.
RIGHT TIME: It’s shaping up to be quite a year both on and off the course for Stacy Lewis.
The American has signed an endorsement deal with OMEGA watches to become one of its brand ambassadors. This comes on the heels of Lewis taking over the number one world rankings with her victory last weekend at the Founders Cup.
OMEGA currently sponsors several European golf events and is the official timekeeper of the PGA of America. It is also an Olympic sponsor, having been the official timepiece of the last 26 Olympic Games.
Last year, Lewis signed a sponsorship deal with the financial services company KPMG, joining four-time major champion Phil Mickelson as part of the company's sponsorship program. That deal was seen as somewhat of a breakthrough for women’s golf where most sponsorship is related to apparel or equipment, not major financial services.
DIGGING IN THE DIRT: Work has finally begun on the 2016 Olympic golf course after delays caused by a legal dispute over ownership of the site.
The organizing committee for the Rio de Janeiro Games said on Wednesday that clearing work had begun to remove "non-native vegetation" after a permit was issued by the city. Construction is set to begin in April and Carlos Nuzman, head of the organizing committee, said the course would be ready for a test event in 2015.
The move should come as a relief to the International Olympic Committee, which has repeatedly downplayed the ongoing legal dispute but was officially notified about it by court officials during a recent inspection visit to Rio. Two different companies have claimed ownership of the land, with one having announced plans to build a housing complex there instead.
The course is being designed by American Gil Hanse, who said he was "excited and pleased" to see the beginning of the inital clearing of the site.
Work on the course was to have started six months ago.
The 2016 Games will be the first time golf has appeared in the Olympics since 1904 in St. Louis.
AND THE WINNER IS: The PGA Tour and the Ryder Cup were among the nominees for the sixth annual Sports Business Awards.
The Tour is nominated in the category League of the Year while the Ryder Cup is once again nominated for Event of the Year alongside the Stanley Cup finals, the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials and the U.S. Grand Prix F1 race.
Last year, the Humana Challenge - formerly the Bob Hope Desert Classic - was named the Sports Event of the Year.
Launched in 2008, the Sports Business Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports.
Files from Reuters and the Asscociated Press were used in this report