Parenevik Explains Harsh Words About Tiger

Jesper Parnevik says Tiger Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, is "like family" to him, so he had some tough talk about Woods when news emerged about the golfing great's offf-links troubles.

Parnevik, a Swedish PGA veteran, and his wife introduced Woods to Nordegren when Nordegren was the Parneviks' nanny.

Now that Woods has announced he's returning to golf after a self-imposed exile, Parnevik was asked by "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith about his previous criticism of Woods.

"I feel really sorry for Elin," he said at the time, "since me and my wife are at fault for hooking her up with him, and we have -- probably thought he was a better guy than he is, then. And I would probably just have to apologize to her."

On Wednesday, Parnevik remarked to Smith, "Elin is like family to us. And you know, when someone spends two years that close to you, you know, she becomes dear to all of us. … You know, I have to admit I was a little bit shocked at the time, because I'd heard the rumors about Tiger for years before this happened. But I always told everyone they're not true and, you know, he would never do anything ever to hurt Elin.

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"So, when the news came out, like I said, I was fairly ticked off, to say the least.

"And I know you're supposed to have the politically correct view, and sugarcoat everything when you talk about Tiger Woods. But at the time, I just didn't think it was fair to Elin to do that."

Parnevik says he's spoken with Nordegren since the scandal broke and has reached out to Woods, who hasn't returned his calls - which Parnevik says is "very understandable.

Nordegren, says Parnevik, is "a great girl. I mean, she is … a very strong girl. Down to earth. Very humble. Doesn't like the, you know, being the center of attention or the media circus at all. Always keeps in the background. So of course, it's been a very, very tough time for her, which everybody would understand. But … she's a very strong girl, and I'm really proud of her the way she's handled the whole situation."

Parnevik calls Woods' return "rally great, of course. He is the best player on the planet. Maybe the best player ever. But he's coming back to the game, and … after all this chaos and hoopla, you know, the attention's going to be so huge worldwide. So it's nothing but good for golf."

He adds that if anyone could make his return at the Masters without any warm-up matches, it's Woods.