Originally created 10/07/04

Tiger Woods marries Swedish fiancee

SANDY LANE BEACH, Barbados - Tiger Woods married Swedish model Elin Nordegren at an exclusive resort in Barbados during a sunset ceremony that reportedly cost $1.5 million, according to witnesses.

Oprah Winfrey and former NBA stars Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were among more than 120 guests seen by an Associated Press reporter perched on a hill overlooking the club house of the Sandy Lane resort and golf course, which went to extraordinary lengths to shield the ceremony from journalists.

The wedding, held in a white-netted pagoda decorated with red roses, took place at 5:48 p.m. Tuesday as the sun painted a spectacular array of colors across the sky.

The Barbados Daily Nation quoted unidentified sources as saying that the event cost $1.5 million. Woods reportedly imported 500 red roses for the ceremony.

The rock group Hootie and the Blowfish performed, witnesses said, before fireworks lit up the night along Barbados' west coast.

The couple spent their wedding night on a yacht, which was named "Privacy."

As the sun rose Wednesday, a rainbow arched over the yacht and the couple sailed ashore on a skiff. They were accompanied by the bride's identical twin sister, Josefin.

Nordegren, 24, met Woods three years ago while she was the nanny to the children of Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik.

At the ceremony, Nordegren wore an off-white sleeveless gown, according to the witnesses, while Woods, 28, wore a beige suit.

Woods' father, Earl, arrived at the resort about 3 p.m. in a silver Rolls-Royce. At the reception, he cried after giving a speech, the witnesses said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Earlier in the day, the couple appeared to be adhering to the tradition of not seeing each other before taking their vows.

An AP photographer caught Woods on film early Tuesday, carrying scuba equipment from the yacht to an attached dive boat. Shirtless and grinning, Woods then took a turn at the wheel.

The couple refused to respond to reports of the wedding, and there was no official confirmation hours after the event.

Resort employees erected sheets of plywood and a crane hoisted large plants to try to block views of the event.

Two photographers approaching the reception area were escorted away by Barbadian police, who helped provide security, along with private guards and a Barbados Coast Guard cutter offshore.

Other photographers crouched in a nearby bushy area, from as early as 1 p.m., to take pictures of guests entering the country club. Others were on the roof of a nearby house.

Security guards from Sandy Lane tried in vain to persuade a nearby resident to throw the press off her son's property. The woman explained she was the landlord and that she had granted permission.

Woods' precautions appeared to encompass hiring the only helicopter charter company on the island, which said it was booked solid Tuesday - a move that prevented journalists and photographers from flying over the event.

He also rented out the entire hotel, which has about 200 rooms ranging in price from $700 to $8,000 a night, according to a hotel source.

Woods asked Nordegren to marry him in November 2003 during a sunset walk at a game reserve in South Africa, after he competed in the Presidents Cup.

On Sunday, Woods played in the American Express Championship in Thomastown, Ireland. He finished ninth, and slipped to No. 3 in the world for the first time since May 1999.

Before he left Ireland, he declined to confirm the reports of an imminent wedding, and when asked about a Caribbean vacation said only, "I'm ready to go diving. I'm ready to hop in that water and shoot some fish."

"All I can say is that I'm getting married in the future. I've narrowed it down to that," Woods said. "I think you guys would be the last people I'd ever tell."

The Sandy Lane is owned by Irishmen J.P. McManus and Dermot Desmond, who are friends of Woods. The resort has hosted celebrities such as tennis star Serena Williams and fashion designer Donatella Versace.

Resort managers have said previously they hoped to invite Woods to strike the first ball at the Green Monkey golf course, which has yet to officially open.


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