A couple of weeks back, the New York Post reported that Tiger Woods had bribed National Enquirer’s parent American Media not to publish photos of a parking-lot tryst by agreeing to pose for the cover of another American Media title, Men’s Fitness.
American Media denied the whole thing.
Today, the Wall Street Journal breaks new details, including about how the National Enquirer fooled Tiger’s people into thinking it had better evidence of the hook-up than it did.
The National Enquirer episode began with an encounter in the late winter or early spring of 2007 in a church parking lot near Mr. Woods’s home in Windermere, Fla., according to the people with direct knowledge of the situation. A person working on behalf of the National Enquirer, based in Boca Raton, Fla., tailed Mr. Woods to the empty parking lot, these people said. Hidden from view, the photographer snapped photographs of the married Mr. Woods meeting a woman in his car. After the encounter, the photographer followed Mr. Woods to a small airport, where the golfer got on a private jet and took off, those people said.
The photos were so poorly lit that it was nearly impossible to tell what the couple was doing in the parking lot, says one person who saw the pictures. This person said it was unlikely the story could have been published without more evidence. At any rate, the Enquirer notified Mr. Woods’s representatives and the woman in the photograph that the publication had photographic evidence of the golfer having an affair and was ready to expose the encounter, according to people directly involved. It didn’t disclose to Mr. Woods’s representatives that the quality of the photographs was so poor, according to those people.
Within hours, representatives of Mr. Woods told the Enquirer that Mr. Woods wouldn’t comment on the alleged affair, say people close to the matter. But the representatives made an offer: If the Enquirer dropped the story, Mr. Woods would sit for an elaborate interview for sister publication Men’s Fitness, according to people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
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