Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
But there’s no doubt that love is in the air in the sports world.
First, Danica Patrick’s personal life is no longer a secret — she’s dating a fellow driver.
Patrick revealed to The Associated Press on Friday that she and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are a couple, ending widespread speculation about the nature of their relationship.
Then, USA Today reported on Friday that numerous gossip magazines are linking Tiger Woods and world champion skier Lindsey Vonn.
Last week, there were reports that Tiger was going to ask ex-wife Elin Nordegren to remarry him.
Tiger declined comment on either report, but Patrick was effusive in talking about her new boyfriend.
“I think I am just finally excited to tell someone about this,” Patrick said during an exclusive telephone interview with AP.
The couple waited until the end of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s weeklong annual media tour to go public with their relationship, which started as a friendship as they raced each other the past two seasons in the Nationwide Series. Stenhouse became a mentor of sorts to the 30-year-old Patrick, who left IndyCar after the 2011 season to make the full-time switch to NASCAR.
“We are dating, and I know there’s been a bit of a runaround this week at the media days and poor Ricky got grilled (with questions),” she said. “It was out of respect to NASCAR, to all the manufacturers, the new cars, the teams, the sponsors, just to allow the news of the day to be about racing and not let anything interfere with that.”
Stenhouse confirmed the relationship.
“Yes we are dating,” he said.
Patrick remains one of the most recognizable drivers in auto racing, even if wins have been hard to come by. There was speculation that her appeal with advertisers had waned, but sponsor Go Daddy said Patrick will again appear in the website domain provider’s commercials during the Super Bowl next month.
Patrick announced in November she and husband Paul Hospenthal were divorcing after seven years, and said in the Jan. 3 filing that her marriage to the 47-year-old Hospenthal was “irretrievably broken.”
Asked about the Patrick-Stenhouse relationship, NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer wants to know: “Who gets the (track) position getting into the corner? ‘You go. No, you go. No, no, you go.’ Who gets that position? There’s a lot of give and take in a relationship.”
As for Tiger, well, maybe he’s just trying to keep up with rival golfer Rory McIlroy, who is dating tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.