By ANDREW DAMPF
AP Sports Writer
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — The whole gang was there when Lindsey Vonn finally became the most successful women’s World Cup skier of all time.
Her mother had come to Europe for the first time. The American’s once-estranged father came along, too.
And then a masked man showed up as Vonn celebrated a super-G victory Monday for her record 63rd World Cup win to make the party complete.
Wearing a mask with a skull design, boyfriend Tiger Woods weaved through the crowd unnoticed until he shared an emotional embrace with Vonn, who had no idea that the golfer was jetting to Europe for the occasion.
“No way!’’ Vonn exclaimed when she spotted him.
“It was an amazing surprise,’’ Vonn said. “I’m so happy that he’s here. … Everyone important to me is here – my mom and dad and my sister and Tiger – it’s pretty incredible. I didn’t think it was going to get better than yesterday and today topped it.
“I knew it was him immediately,’’ Vonn added. “He loves that stupid mask.’’
Vonn broke Annemarie Moser-Proell’s 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup wins with a flawless run down the Olympia delle Tofane course, finishing by a huge margin of 0.85 ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria. It came a day after equaling the record with a downhill win on Sunday.
“It’s funny for me to see that he has to wear a mask and hide,’’ Fenninger said of Woods. “He’s just a normal human but for us it’s a big thing that he’s here, because skiing is not as important like golf in the world.’’
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein placed third, 0.92 back.
“It’s such a big number,’’ Weirather, the daughter of champion skiers Hanni Wenzel and Harti Weirather, said of Vonn’s accomplishment. “I can’t even imagine winning so many races. She has done so much for the sport, because she’s a real superstar and that makes Alpine skiing more popular in the U.S. and Europe. We need people like that for our sport.’’
Vonn said Woods watched Sunday’s victory at home in Florida, so she couldn’t quite fathom how he made it to Europe so quickly.
“I had no idea he was here,’’ Vonn added. “He told everyone to keep it a secret and I’m surprised. Normally no one can keep a secret in my family. … He just showed up. … He has a tournament soon. So he’s got a lot of work and I’m surprised that he was able to come all the way over here for a few hours to watch me ski.’
A photo generated buzz about Woods missing his front tooth.
The culprit, according to his agent, was a camera.
“During a crush of photographers as the awards podium at the World Cup event in Italy, a media member with a shoulder-mounted video camera pushed and surged toward the stage, turned and hit Tiger Woods in the mouth,’’ Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports said in an email. “Woods’ tooth was knocked out by the incident.’’
Race organizers said this was not reported to them. They added that Woods did request extra security and a snowmobile to exit the finish area, and organizers met both requests.
“I was among those who escorted him from the tent to the snowmobile and there was no such incident,’’ Nicola Colli, the secretary general of the race organizing committee, told The Associated Press. “When he arrived he asked for more security and we rounded up police to look after both him and Lindsey.’’
Woods had been wearing a scarf with a skeleton pattern over the lower part of his face, sunglasses and a stocking cap. The photo was taken when the scarf was lowered.
Woods first showed up in the athletes’ area when Vonn’s father, Alan Kildow, escorted him in shortly after Vonn took the lead. The golfer then surprised Vonn and gave the skier a hug.
After 10 to 15 minutes of standing near Vonn with her family, Woods was shown into a white tent usually reserved for measuring skis. He stayed there for nearly an hour while the last lower-ranked skiers came down and during the podium celebration. After the podium celebration, Woods was accompanied by police to a snowmobile and taken away.
Steinberg was traveling and did not say when Woods would have the tooth replaced. Golf’s biggest _ and most photographed – star returns to competition next week in the Phoenix Open, and his smile is sure to produce a stream of shutters from the cameras.
Woods has a long history with cameras, often frustrated when shutters go off in the middle of his swing. One notable episode came during the Skins Game in 2002 when a corporate photographer clicked his camera as Woods was hitting a shot from the bunker on the final hole. His former caddie, Steve Williams, took the camera and set it on a steep bank of a pond so that it tumbled into the water.
Another time, Woods was on the verge of his first bogey-free tournament at a World Golf Championship in Ireland when a camera clicked at the top of his tee shot. He made bogey, but still won.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson in Honolulu and AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Cortina contributed to this report.