ORLANDO, Florida - Tiger Woods, who can overtake Rory McIlroy for World No.1 by defending his title this week at Bay Hill, says he and ski star Lindsey Vonn went public as a couple to combat "stalker-azzi".
A day after Woods and Vonn told the world they were dating and shared photos on their Facebook pages, Woods explained why they made that decision at a news conference on the eve of the $US6.2 million ($A6.01 million) US PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"We're very happy where we're at, but also we wanted to limit the 'stalker-azzi' and all those sleazy websites out there, paparazzi following us," Woods said.
Photographers seeking a valuable picture of the couple had put at risk the health of Woods' two children with ex-wife Elin Nordegren - five-year-old daughter Sam Alexis and four-year-old son Charlie.
"I've had situations where it has been very dangerous for my kids, the lengths paparazzi will go to," Woods said. "We basically devalued the first photos. Unfortunately that's just the way it is in our society right now. We felt it was the best thing to do and I'm very happy about it."
Woods, a 14-time major champion who will try to close the gap on the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus when he plays at next month's Masters, has spent a record 623 weeks atop the world rankings, but none since October of 2010 after injuries and an infamous sex scandal saw him stumble from the top 50.