Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Shamed Tiger Woods has got it off his chest

Tiger Woods with Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, rides next to Woods after winning the US Open championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course
United States Ryder Cup team player Tiger Woods and his wife Elin leave at the end of the opening ceremony for the 2006 Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods celebrates with wife Elin Nordegren after winning the 88th PGA Championship golf tournament
Tiger Woods and his wife Elin
Elin Woods smiles as USA and European team wives prepare to travel to The Curragh racecourse for the Wives Race Day prior to the start of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 19, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Tiger Woods of USA poses with his wife Elin Nordegren at The Welcome Dinner after the first official practice day of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 19, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Amy Campbell (L),Tabitha Furyk, Amy Mickelson, Elin Woods and Melissa Lehman (R) observe their country's national anthem during the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club on September 21, 2006 in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Showing off his body and glaring at the camera, Tiger Woods looks nothing like the good guy of the greens in the image on the cover of the latest Vanity Fair.

The shot — never before seen — was taken by world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz in January 2006, long before the world learned that the married father-of-two cheated on his wife with a variety of other women

In the accompanying article Buzz Bissinger interviews some of the reporters who covered Woods for years to find out how the golf great kept secret his numerous affairs.

Bissinger also revisits the embarrassing interview that a then-21-year-old Woods gave to Charles Pierce of GQ magazine in 1997.

Woods joked about lesbian sex and the endowments of black athletes — the kind of gaffe he never repeated once he signed with agent Mark Steinberg.

Joe Logan, a long-time golf writer, told Vanity Fair that Woods later “learned very well to talk forever and say nothing” at tournament Press conferences.

Woods was equally detached with other players “though he was always affable, never antagonistic”, said Mr Bissinger.

Michael Bamberger, a golf writer for Sports Illustrated magazine, said that Woods learned early on that to succeed in professional golf, particularly as a black man in a white man's game, he had to conform.

“What seems clear now is that he lived a very abnormal life all his life in a sport in which guys are very conventional,” he said.

As sponsors have deserted Woods (33) and his public approval ratings have plunged, Mr Bissinger speculated that the golfer might be damaged most by recent charges against Anthony Galea, a Canadian doctor accused of providing athletes with human growth hormone.

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