Professional golfer Tiger Woods once posed for the cover of Men’s Fitness shortly after the National Inquirer received a tip in 2007 that Woods
was sleeping with a waitress named Mindy Lawton, the New Yorker reported in an exposè published in the July 3 issue.
The tip was years before Woods’ marital infidelities had been revealed to the public.
Men’s Fitness and the National Inquirer are both owned by American Media and run by CEO David Pecker, who was profiled in the New Yorker for his ties to President Donald Trump.
Pecker told the New Yorker that Lawton’s mother had called the Inquirer and said Woods and Lawton met at a diner near Woods’ Orlando home where Lawton worked.
“She said her daughter serves him, and then she has a relationship with Tiger, and she goes out to the parking lot behind there and they have sex together,” Pecker said.
Reporters from The National Enquirer hid behind the bushes of the parking lot and captured evidence of Lawton and Woods together.
“The Enquirer guys were behind the bushes and she must have had her period, so she threw the tampon and they grabbed it,” Pecker said.
Pecker said that the Men’s Fitness editors had asked Woods to appear on the cover of the magazine multiple times. After the Inquirer asked Woods for comment on his tryst with Lawton, Woods’ agent called Men’s Fitness and agreed to negotiate for a cover story. Woods appeared on the cover in August 2007.
“Pecker was all over me about the negotiations with Tiger’s people,” Neal Boulton, the editor of the magazine at the time, told the New Yorker. “I allowed myself to get sucked into this situation.”
Pecker insisted to the New Yorker that Woods’ first cover appearance was not blackmail and that he never intended to run the Lawton story.
The National Enquirer would go on to publish stories about Woods’ other affairs in 2009.
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