Tiger Woods now has got another reason to shun cameras – his agent said it cost him a tooth. Woods made a surprise visit to Italy on Monday to see his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn capture her record 63rd World Cup race. The photo that created all the buzz was Woods missing his front tooth. The guilty party, as claimed by his agent, was a camera.
“During a crush of photographers at the awards podium at the World Cup event in Italy, a media member with a shoulder-mounted video camera pushed and surged toward the stage, turned and hit Tiger Woods in the mouth,” Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports conveyed via an email. “Woods’ tooth was knocked out by the incident.”
Race organizers said this was not disclosed to them. They added that Woods did ask for extra security and a snowmobile to leave the finish area, and organizers met with both his requests.
“I was among those who escorted him from the tent to the snowmobile and there was no such incident,” Nicola Colli, the secretary general of the race organizing committee, told The Associated Press. “When he arrived he asked for more security and we rounded up police to look after both him and Lindsey.”
Woods had been wearing a scarf with a skeleton pattern over the lower part of his face with sunglasses and a stocking cap. The photo was captured when the scarf was lowered.
Woods first showed up in the athletes’ area when Vonn’s father, Alan Kildow, accompanied him in shortly after Vonn took the lead. The golfer then startled Vonn and gave the skier a heart-warming hug.
After about 10-15 minutes of standing near Vonn with her family, Woods was guided into a white tent normally reserved for measuring athletes’ skis. He was there for almost an hour, while the last lower-ranked skiers came down during the podium celebration. After the podium festivities, Woods was escorted by police to a waiting snowmobile and taken away.
Steinberg was traveling and did not specify when Woods would have his tooth replaced. Golf’s most popular and photographed star will return to competition next week in the Phoenix Open, and his smile is sure to trigger a stream of shutters from the cameras.
Woods has a long history with cameras, often annoyed when shutters go off in the middle of his swing. One glaring incident happened during the Skins Game in 2002 when a corporate photographer snapped his camera as Woods was hitting a shot from the bunker on the final hole. His former caddie, Steve Williams, took the camera and set it on a vertical bank of a pond so that it crashed into the water.
Another time, Woods was on the brink of his first bogey-free tournament at a World Golf Championship in Ireland when a camera clicked at the top of his tee shot. He made bogey, but still won.