How did Elin Nordegren (search) snag one of the sports world’s hottest and richest bachelors? The new Mrs. Woods — a 24-yearold Swedish beauty — played her cards perfectly.
The model, ex-psychology student and former nanny, who said “I do” to Tiger Woods (search) at a seaside ceremony in Barbados on Tuesday, kept his attention by running hot and cold.
When the two were separated by oceans, she’d make him wait for hours before returning his calls. Yet other times, she played the devoted girlfriend, accompanying the 28-year-old golf superstar on tournaments, standing on the sidelines with Tiger’s mom, Kutilda, quietly cheering him on.
“Elin is exactly what Tiger needs to get stability in life,” Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik told a Scandinavian tabloid. “She’s mature for her age, humble and she has both feet on the ground. The personal chemistry really works. They complement each other. She is not interested in being in the spotlight like all the American groupies. I hope it works for her. It probably won’t be easy for her.”
Nordegren, who was raised in Vaxholm, a town outside Stockholm (search), seems happy to let her high-profile hubby stay in the limelight. The couple met three years ago at the British Open, when Nordegren, whose mother is a political adviser and whose father is a Swedish radio show host, was working as a nanny for Parnevik’s four children.
Nordegren and Tiger took things slowly at first, but after breaking up with his previous girlfriend, law student Joanna Jagoda, the fiercely private sports star seemed ready for a new romance.
When she wasn’t out on tour with Tiger, Nordegren — whose looks have been likened to Pam Anderson’s (search) — was pursuing her own athletic activities, such as kickboxing, diving or hitting the gym. Last November, the golf champ — tossing away his dad’s advice not to marry until age 30 — proposed to her during a South African safari.
Their wedding, at Barbados’ exclusive Sandy Lane (search) resort and golf club on Tuesday was a $2 million affair, where guests including Michael Jordan (search) and Charles Barkley feasted on shrimp cocktail, flying fish, macaroni pie and a four-tier wedding cake, according to People.com, while private security guards patrolled the premises.
Nordergen stayed at a $32,000-a-night villa for 10 days before the ceremony — going on daily snorkeling expeditions with her twin sister and three girlfriends — while Woods hired a three-decked motor dock for two weeks at the price of $140,000. That’s remarkable just for the fact that Woods, whose fortune is worth $215 million and climbing, is a notorious tightwad.
“Men are happy to give women what they want when they know they are understood,” says New York marriage counselor Marilyn Graman, author of “There Is No Prince.” “She knows when to expect attention and when to leave him alone. She knows he loves her, so he doesn’t have to prove it over and over.”
Is Nordegren an example to follow?
Ellen Fein and Sherri Schneider, co-authors of the late-1990s dating bible “The Rules,” said Nordegren had only broken one of their edicts: Keep your own life, rather than devoting all your time to your man, no matter how demanding his schedule is.
“But if you look like that,” quipped Fein, “you can break a few rules.”