"Even breathing hurt," the golf pro said of the painful flight home for emergency dental care

Credit: EPA/Andrea Solero/Landov

Tiger Woods smiled broadly Tuesday as he met reporters with a full set of pearly whites after his teeth-damaging ski slope incident in Italy.

Back in Phoenix, where he is set to play his first 2015 tournament, Woods told reporters that “the story is about Lindsey breaking the record,” turning attention on his girlfriend, pro skier Lindsey Vonn, 30, whom he surprised on the slopes after she won a major Super-G comeback race on Jan. 19 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, ESPN reported.

Pressed about his injuries, Woods, 39, said one tooth got knocked out and another badly cracked after a TV cameraman who was carrying his gear on his shoulder accidentally rose up and turned around in a crowd to smack the golfing champion in the mouth.

“I was looking down, and all the camera guys are below me on their knees or moving all around, trying to get a picture because she’s hugging people, saying congratulations to the other racers as they are coming down. Some already finished, some are there already in the changing area,” Woods said of the celebratory scene before the incident occurred.

“I still had my mask on trying to blend in,” Woods said of his disguise worn to surprise Vonn, a white skull-printed bandana and sunglasses. “There are not a lot of brown dudes at ski races.”

“I’m trying to keep this thing on so the blood is not all over the place,” Woods said. “Luckily, he hit the one with a root canal. He chipped that one and cracked the other.”

Flying back to the United States for a emergency dentist visit, Woods said, was painful.

“The flight home was a joke. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink until he fixed them. Until he put the temporaries on I couldn’t have anything touch it,” he said. “Even breathing hurt. Any kind of air rushed over the nerve of the tooth that was still alive that was cracked.”

By the next morning, his teeth were repaired, he said, taking the incident in stride and noting attention should remain on Vonn, who broke the all-time World Cup wins record after a devastating knee injury in December 2013 that cost her an Olympic bid.

“In every sport you get teeth knocked out,” he told reporters. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t actually competing and got my teeth knocked out.”