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Monday, January 4, 2010

 

Tough Tiger Woods Shirtless

Tough Tiger Woods pictured shirtless on Leibovitz Vanity Fair cover

Tiger Woods appears shirtless and "pumping iron" in a photograph by the photographer Annie Leibovitz published for the first time by Vanity Fair magazine.

 

Tom Leonard in New York
9:45PM GMT 04 Jan 2010

Golfer Tiger Woods is shown on the cover of the February 2010 issue of

Tiger Woods on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

The picture was taken in 2006, long before allegations of the golfer's serial philandering emerged.

The photo, one of several "raw" shots of Woods to be printed in the magazine's forthcoming February issue, is a far cry from the squeaky clean image that the golf star once enjoyed both on and off the green.

An accompanying article by the writer Buzz Bissinger seeks to discover why the sportsman was able to keep his "sex addict" nature hidden for so long.

One revealing insight into the "real" Woods, he writes, was provided by a taped interview the golfer gave to GQ magazine in 1997, when his image was not so tightly controlled by publicity advisors.

During the interview, Woods, then 21, told a series of dirty jokes about lesbian sex and the endowments of black sportsmen, some of them as he "flirted" with four women who were assisting him during a photo-shoot.

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.

"And if you are not conventional, you get ostracised right away."

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.

Dr Galea treated Woods for an injured knee. Although he conceded that there was no evidence that the golfer took performance enhancing drugs, Mr Bissinger said sports writers who covered Woods noticed as long ago as 2007 that "from the back he was beginning to look like Barry Bonds" - a reference to a baseball star embroiled in a recent steroids scandal.


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