Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Romantic bliss long shot for Woods, Vonn

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Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn make a pretty pair in the pictures they posted on Facebook Monday, but relationship experts don't expect wedding bells.

"The chances for a successful relationship are pretty slim," Dr. Wendy Walsh, a Los Angeles-based psychologist and relationship expert and author of The 30-Day Love Detox, told USA Today. "It's going to be very challenging. 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.

"Because of Tiger's notorious infidelities, he'll be under such a microscope. Every time he talks to a pretty girl on the golf course, Lindsey is going to hear about it."

Also skeptical is the oddsmaker Bovada, which will take bets on 4-to-1 odds that Woods and Vonn will be engaged by Jan. 1, 2015.

Woods, golf's biggest star, and Vonn, skiing's biggest star, both confirmed in Facebook postings Monday the long-standing reports that they are a couple. Vonn wrote that their friendship grew "into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy."

Both Woods, 37, and Vonn, 28, asked the media and their fans to respect their privacy, at the same time posting a series of posed photographs.

"It looks like an advertisement, doesn't it?" Walsh says. "It looks like they want us to know something. What is it they want us to know? Maybe Tiger is saying that he really can be in a healthy monogamous relationship. I have to say it's kind of fascinating how much she (Vonn) looks like his ex-wife. I guess we all have a type, don't we?"

Woods and Elin Nordegren, a blond, Swedish former model, divorced after Woods's series of infidelities became known. Vonn is recently divorced from Thomas Vonn, a former ski racer who also became her coach and adviser.

Both have dealt with fallout from their past relationships. Woods went into therapy after his extramarital affairs became headlines. Vonn has acknowledged being treated for depression.

"It could be an accident waiting to happen," Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, a relationship therapist in New York City and author of Make Up, Don't Break Up, said of the Woods/Vonn pairing.

She also pointed out the physical resemblance of Vonn to Nordegren.

"It's one way of him trying to make up for what happened," Weil says. "He could be looking to replace her."

But Weil said Woods and Vonn can be helpful to one another in getting through past issues. "You can't say hello until you've said goodbye," she says. "They have a lot in common. Both are trying to overcome a painful past and get on with a new beginning. They can help each other work through old relationships."

In the long run, Weil says, "rebounds never work. I would say what they have is pseudo-intimacy. I do not think it has a chance for the long haul."

Walsh says each partner will have independent issues. "Lindsey's 28, and she's going to have to decide rather quickly whether she wants to become a mother," she says. "Tiger's dilemma is whether he can have a healthy monogamous relationship after feeding himself a steady diet of exciting sex partners.

"I wish them well, but it's going to take sacrifice. What they can achieve together is what makes it a successful relationship. Are they willing to sacrifice to achieve the common good? A lot of that comes down to travel and how much time they decide to be distanced from one another."

-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 E3

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