If ever Tiger Woods needed reminding of how his private life has dogged and sapped his sporting one, it will come from the incendiary celebrations of three of his former mistresses one year on from his spectacular downfall.
Porn stars Holly Sampson, Joslyn James and nightclub waitress Jamie Jungers, three of Woods's alleged dozen mistresses, are to hold a lavish cocktail party on 3 December to celebrate, as they put it, the anniversary of the crash which led to their wider fame. The do, at the ZIN Bistro in the Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village, will take place less than four miles from where Woods will lead a field of 16 elite PGA tour players to compete for the Chevron golf tournament title at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.Thus, even a year after his minor skirmish with fire hydrant and tree, the infidelities of the past shadow him.
It is now more than two years since the golfer won a major championship, and if rival Martin Kaymer closes in on the number-one spot at this weekend's Dubai World Championship, Woods will fall from second to third in the world rankings. The man who won six times on the US tour last year, earning $20.5m on the course, is without a win this year, and languishing in 68th place on his home tour's money list.
The devastating exposé of a series of affairs has been acutely felt by the world renowned sportsman, who won 14 major titles, was world number one for 281 consecutive weeks, and until this year was a supremely confident athlete with an aura of invincibility. As Thanksgiving was celebrated on Thursday, Woods might have reflected on the downward spiral of his reputation, the demise of his marriage to Elin Nordegren – the mother of his two children – his diabolical form and the loss of a fistful of lucrative sponsorship deals thought to have cost him around $35m.
Woods's affairs were uncovered after the crash in the early hours of 27 November last year, when he drove his SUV over a fire hydrant and into a tree outside his Florida home. He has since spoken of a tortured year of blow-by-blow news coverage as the revelations of his affair with Rachel Uchitel and a string of other extra-marital encounters gave way to ridicule and the shredding of his personal life.
Woods, who will be 35 next month, agreed to therapy for "sex addiction" and unsuccessfully tried to save his marriage. After his divorce in August, he was reported to have paid his wife a $110m settlement from the $675m he has earned from the sport.
After a five-month hiatus, he re-emerged on the fairway in April but, for the first time in 15 seasons on the PGA Tour, has failed to win, reeling in just $1.3m in prize money. He said last week in an interview that his recovery from the reverberations of what would, to most people, be a minor traffic accident, has still some way to go. "My healing process is far from complete, but I am beginning to appreciate things I had overlooked before. I'm learning that some victories can mean smiles, not trophies, and that life's most ordinary events can bring joy," he said.
"Giving my son, Charlie, a bath beats chipping another bucket of balls. Making mac and cheese for him and his sister, Sam, is better than dining in any restaurant. Some nights now, it's just me and the kids, an experience that's both trying and rewarding. Probably like the experience a lot of families have every evening around the world."
It is the kind of level-headed, work-life balanced talk which indicates that the psychological change in Woods, while healthy by most people's standards, is not the single-minded stuff of which accumulating many more championships are made.Reuse content