Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fearless in the face of a Tiger

Skier Lindsey Vonn, who once sneered at Woods' indiscretion, has faith in his fidelity

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U.S. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is obviously fearless.

The willingness to hurtle down mountains at injurious speeds that can reach 80 m.p.h. in Alpine racing's super-G may explain her having the audacity to fall for Tiger Woods, a man with baggage beyond the golf clubs he totes. The world's most famous golfer turned off a huge chunk of the population after his spectacular failures in the area of monogamy were disclosed during his marriage.

Every time I say my intuition is Woods is a changed man, some women remind me that they wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot 7-iron.

Vonn sounded like one of those women, shortly after the news conference where Woods took responsibility for his cheating scandal.

According to Time.com, when Vonn was told of Woods giving hugs to friends after his televised statement about his bad behaviour, Vonn cracked: "They're like, 'Yeah, you're awesome, you go have that sex'?" She then amused the media by outlining an SNL skit she'd like to do about Woods.

Now that she is in a relationship with Woods, his travails are probably no laughing matter.

Vonn, who lives in Vail, Colo., recently returned to her native state of Minnesota to greet fans at her original ski area, Afton Alps, which is now part of Vail Resorts, a company for which Vonn is a rep.

She signed autographs, reminisced and encouraged one kid with big dreams in these words: "The mountains in Colorado are really big... but don't ever forget you're from Afton."

She spoke coyly of Woods but never mentioned him by name.

"I did a lot of spectating at golf tournaments," she said to laughter when one kid asked how she spent the summer. When a man asked if she spent time playing golf, Vonn said, "I'm not good at golf. I mean, I try, but it takes like five hours."

I promised Molly Mulvehill Steinke, of public relations firm Nemer Steiger, that I would only ask one Tiger romance-specific question. I had a few Tiger-tangential questions. Among them was one about that practical joke Vonn pulled at the Presidents Cup, when she put a young squirrel on Woods' shoulder.

But I begin the following Q&A with my question involving the M-word -- and it's not marriage.

Good thing I had asked a few questions beforehand, because when I asked this one, Steinke chucked me on the elbow to indicate my time with Vonn had come to a close.

Q: There's little doubt monogamy means a lot in a devoted couple's relationship. What is it about your new relationship that makes you confident fidelity is part of the foundation?

A: Ah, I don't know. That's kind of a weird question. But, aah, I mean, you have to trust the person that you're with and we're happy and that's all.

And the interview was over.

Now for the questions preceding the ill-fated query:

Q: Did you realize you looked this much like Sharon Stone before this ESPN magazine photo shoot (showing her the photos)?

A: No, I did not. But I get it a lot now.

Q: I see from a clip airing on TV that you like squirrel pranks. What's the most epic practical joke you've ever pulled on someone?

A: I don't really do practical jokes, and as you can tell, it didn't really work out that well. He wasn't even scared.

Q: How many lunges can you do in a workout?

A: It depends. Today I did 30.

Q: What is your signature kitchen dish?

A: I make a mean chicken stir fry. I can also make Wiener schnitzel and lots of other things.

Q: If you had grown up in a southern clime, would you have been a golf professional instead of a skiing pro?

A: No. I do not have enough patience for golf, unfortunately.

Q: Who has a better golf swing, Michael Jordan or Ahmad Rashad?

A: I don't know. I've never played with them. But I have heard they are both very good. I'm not going to make enemies of anyone.

-- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 20, 2013 A1

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