Tiger Woods reflects on ex-wife, ex-girlfriend and Jack Nicklaus

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Tiger Woods last played competitive golf on Aug. 23 when he tied for 10th and thought the pain he experienced was from his hip. Instead, it was a recurrence of his back problems.

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Now, with his 40th birthday coming up on Dec. 30, related nerve damage threatens to end his career.

"Put it this way. It's not what I want to have happen, and it's not what I'm planning on having happen," Woods said. "But if it does, it does. I've reconciled myself to it."

In a rare media interview interview for Time magazine, Woods opened up to Canadian golf author Lorne Rubinstein about myriad issues, including his relationship with his ex-wife, his relationship with ex-girlfriend Lindsay Vonn and how he feels about chasing Jack Nicklaus' records.

Relationship with ex-wife and children

Woods said he Sam, 8, and Charlie, 6, that he doesn’t live in the same house as their mother because he “made some mistakes.”

"I just want them to understand before they get to the Internet age and they log on to something or have their friends tell them something," Woods said. "I want it to come from me so that when they come of age, I'll just tell them the real story."

Woods’ marriage to Elin Nordegren crumbled at the end of 2009 when he was exposed for having multiple extramarital affairs. They were divorced in August 2010.

Asked what he would have done differently before and after the scandal in his personal life, Woods said he would have had a more open, honest relationship with his wife.

"Having the relationship that I have now with her is fantastic," he said. "She's one of my best friends. We're able to pick up the phone, and we talk to each other all the time. We both know that the most important things in our lives are our kids. I wish I would have known that back then."

What happened with ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn?

Ski racer Lindsey Von and Woods for three years. The two broke up in May 2015. Woods said the logistics of the relationship were impossible.

"Well, with Lindsey, what was hard is we never had time together. We're texting each other. It was a great relationship, but it was so hard, when I'm training to do my sport, it takes umpteen hours to do, and I can't travel, except to my tournaments, because I'm here dedicated to my two kids. Meanwhile, most of her summer is spent in South America, at training camps in Chile and Argentina, and then you've got her season, which is mostly in Europe. And I can't travel because I have the kids—my off weeks I'm devoted to my kids—and I have to be here. It's a relationship that was fantastic, but it just can't work on that level. It just could not work. It was doing an injustice to both of us."

Chasing Jack Nicklaus’ records

Woods pointed out again that the chart of Jack Nicklaus he kept on his bedroom wall as a kid had nothing to do with the record 18 majors. It was related to age — the first time Nicklaus broke 40, broke 80, won his first golf tournament, his first state amateur, his first U.S. Amateur and first U.S. Open.

"To me, that was important," he said. "This guy's the best out there and the best of all time. If I can beat each age that he did it, then I have a chance at being the best."

Read the full interview here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.