"I call them the divorced married couple," says the source. "Elin knows Tiger has issues and is afraid to go near him romantically. Because of the children and his need to return to golf, she will try to live in the house with a wall between them."
Woods knows he has to come back at the top of his golf game and intends to spend the coming weeks practicing and flirting with sponsors. Having his wife and family aboard is what the sponsors want.
"The marriage is all smoke and mirrors, but Elin will help Tiger rebuild his image and gain new sponsorships because this is what his life is all about," the source tells PEOPLE. "She is doing this more for the kids and holding the family together then anything else."
Woods, the source believes, will not come back to the world of golf until he can once again knock down 100-foot putts. Since he has been away from his daily routine, he will need to practice a lot more.
"Tiger is a super jock, but it takes time to go back when you have been away from it," the source tells PEOPLE. "I am not sure he will be ready for either the Masters or even the U.S. Open. He will know when he is ready, and then he had better knock 'em dead."
As for his wife, sources say she is a major asset in his image damage control and building back his confidence as a husband and father. "Elin will put a new face on platonic relationships," a source says.
Agrees another: "What is really between them is of no interest to golf sponsors. The world's perception of them as the perfect family is what they like to see."