National Enquirer killed 2007 Tiger cheating story for a Men’s Fitness interview

A couple of weeks ago, The NY Post reported that the former editor of Men’s Fitness claimed that his magazine scored a coveted exclusive interview with Tiger Woods in 2007 in exchange for The National Enquirer killing a story about Tiger cheating. (It was with the Perkins manager, Mindy Lawton, who eventually sold her story to News of the World.) Men’s Fitness and The National Enquirer are owned by the same company, American Media. Tiger has a million-plus multi-year deal with another publisher, Conde Nast, but he obtained their permission to do the rare interview with Men’s Fitness, which became a bestseller for them. I vaguely remember reading this story when it came out although I kind of dismissed it among all of the dizzying Tiger news.

Now that the insane details of Tiger’s frenetic cheating have come out outlets are wondering why we didn’t hear about this much earlier. The guy was not discreet at all and he was carrying on with over a dozen women. The Wall St. Journal has a new story that confirms The Post’s news about Tiger’s deal with Men’s Fitness and offers some more incriminating background. Apparently the Enquirer captured Tiger in a car with manager Mindy in a parking lot, but the photos were too blurry and faraway to be incriminating. They bluffed and Tiger’s people came up with the interview as a way to quash the story. There was even a whole contract with American Media laying out the terms of the interview in exchange for The Enquirer’s silence. The resulting interview was such a coup for Men’s Fitness that the writer who interviewed Tiger ended up being named as new editor. There was also an opening since the old editor took such offense to the backdoor deal with Tiger that he quit in protest.

Here’s the relevant part of the Wall St. Journal’s story. There’s more and it’s very well written and interesting. It really offers perspective on how powerful Tiger and his team are, and helps show how he got away with being a serial cheater with a sex addiction for so long.

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.

After Mr. Woods’s camp offered the interview to American Media, people familiar with the matter say the company began negotiating with Lavely & Singer, a 15-lawyer firm in Los Angeles that is known for its aggressive tactics in disputes surrounding the publication of controversial articles about celebrities. Neither Jay Lavely Jr., who represents Mr. Woods, nor his partner, Martin Singer, responded to questions from the Journal.

After weeks of discussion, the two sides hammered out a contract detailing guidelines for the interview and the photo shoot, as well as the guarantee that the story of Mr. Woods’s rendezvous in the church parking lot wouldn’t be printed, according to a person who has seen the document.

The interview and photo shoot took place in 2007. “We had a great discussion,” said Roy S. Johnson, a former Sports Illustrated editor who was working as a freelance writer when he conducted the interview. “He worked out for us in the gym down there. He hit balls for us to be able to capture that wonderful swing. We talked about how he and Elin often worked out together.”

In the August 2007 issue, a beaming Mr. Woods appeared on the cover of Men’s Fitness. Inside, a 3,500-word story appeared, headlined “Tiger!” It was a coup for Men’s Fitness. The issue sold about 176,000 copies on the newsstand—more than 30% more than the average for the magazine’s 10 issues that year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. In May 2007, Mr. Johnson was named editor in chief of Men’s Fitness.

[From The WSJ]

TMZ had a brief story earlier this week about how Tiger’s team was covering his cheating ass for years. They paid off mistresses and “resolved messy situations with women that ‘could reflect negatively on his squeaky-clean image.'” This only confirms my belief that the National Enquirer does some excellent investigative research to dig up dirt on celebrities. It’s par for the course that they’d bend over backwards to accommodate the world’s number one golfer. Dozens of women did the same. Tiger got away with jetting women around the world and hiring hookers while projecting the image of a happy family man for years. It begs the question: what are other rich and powerful celebrities and sports stars up to?

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43 Responses to “National Enquirer killed 2007 Tiger cheating story for a Men’s Fitness interview”

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  1. DoMaJoReMc says:

    A tad bit of photoshopping on Tiger’s biceps?

  2. Lantana says:

    please tell me that was pun intended (par…), and @ DoMaJoReMc, ITA, Tiger just doesn’t look that big any other time. (and that pun was not intended but it is kinda funny so I’ll leave it.)

  3. Dan says:

    he looks stoned

  4. cprincess says:

    The whole affair is so sordid and theres a reason people hate lawyers!
    Although I thought it should be private business between him and his wife,it seems that Tiger Woods is a reckless serial cheater with a taste for trashy women and who has had his lackeys cleaning up after him for years.
    Many women could have forgiven one ‘transgression’ but not a whole string of them-take your kids and the money Elin and go build a life for yourself without the asshole.

  5. ganjagirl says:

    yes he does

  6. nita says:

    its not sex addiction…its a man with plenty of opportunities. most men would do the same. hes away most of the time without his wife and is rich, famous and women throw themselves at him, its not sex addiction! thats the stupidest cop out i’ve ever heard.

  7. queenie says:

    Hope the feds roast his chestnuts for Christmas.

  8. KatyAlia says:

    If we need to talk about looks… I slap my forehead for never noticing before how creepy his smile is…(Is it purely hindsight?)

    But in regards to the article: Yes, it does show again that the Enquirer is thoroughly researched. And selling out by squashing it for favors.
    Makes me wonder on what other goldmines they might be sitting but not letting out due to dealings within their publishing house.

  9. beachbum says:

    The National Enquirer despite what people say does their research. They broke the story on John Edwards when noone had any Info. But if you go to other sites, people that post will say that mag has incorrect info. People still don’t believe that a celeb could be tailed. Just my Opinion…

  10. Newyorking says:

    Whenever I see this douche I feel like throwing up. Barf.

  11. Sumodo says:

    I hate when pr/media brokering brokering goes on and gets in the way of the real story: Tiger Woods has wandering penis syndrome.

  12. sonola trip says:

    *sigh* Well that magazine cover is hardly subtle is it? Notice where they’ve placed the word “BIG”.

    No wonder the man’s ego was out of control. There he is agreeing to this interview because of sex in a parking lot and they’re all but congratulating him with their “BIG” compliment on the cover. There’s an “attaboy” message being conveyed here that makes me kind of sick. No wonder the editor resigned.

  13. LolaBella says:

    Just shows that Tiger and his ‘mistresses’ weren’t the only whores in this disgusting saga.

    Kudos to the Men’s Fitness editor who quit in protest of how the magazine got the interview.

  14. Ally says:

    A columnist I read today had a good point. The scale of Woods’ skeeze has not made him not just worthy of disapproval, but actively unlikeable.

    Back in the day, I probably would have thought he looked smug and artificially inflated on that cover. Now I think he looks like a stupid, doped jerk.

    He won’t be selling me on anything for decades to come.

  15. lucy2 says:

    Ah, journalism.

  16. AliG says:

    I think the person who knew about his cheating, even before the Enquirer, was his wife. She’s just pissed that it’s all spilled out to the media.

  17. Lem says:

    I ♥ CB comments

  18. Shannon says:

    What are other rich celebrities up to? That’s an easy question. They’re trying to be just like Tiger Woods.

  19. Kris says:

    AliG: Please don’t make blanket assumptions. You don’t know his wife, you know nothing about this situation personally. Please don’t assume that his wife knew about this. From what friends and family are saying, she is not the type of person to turn a blind eye to such blatant cheating. It’s very likely, and very possible, that she knew nothing about his affairs.

  20. K says:

    The good ole boys at work again. Seems a female heard about what the ole boys were sweeping under the rug, and let the cat (s) outta the bag. Read as many puns as you can onto that one.

  21. Francis says:

    Great work by his manager to negotiate that deal. Although surely it would have been better for the mag to break the news of him cheating?

  22. Lita says:

    Good point @Francis. It is interesting that the Sports mag got +30% (aggregate) and that is better financially than a mega coup for Nat Enquirer. I am assuming the tab price for NE is way lower than the Sports mag but so even more fascinating that the numbers went down that way for the publisher.

  23. Neelyo says:

    Anytime a celebrity does an exclusive interview with the Enquirer I wonder what kind of dirt they’ve dug up on them so it’s not surprising that they broker deals like this one.

  24. Eileen Yover says:

    Sumodo: I like that- Wandering Penis Syndrome or “WPS” is a serious disease effecting millions of douchebags world wide.

  25. oh hey says:

    @queene, unless I missed something in the story, when the hell was cheating a FEDERAL crime? Gee, I’m kind of thinking ponzi schemes, drug dealing, extortion would fall under that category.

    @nita. Agreed, it was his ego, not an addiction. I find it funny that even though he got the ultamate trophy wife (thin, blond white woman), he still goes out to cheats. Then again, look as what happened to Princess Di.

  26. Birdie says:

    @ Ally… I liked your post. It’s definitely true that Tiger is now completely unlikable.

  27. Kim says:

    So the last two weeks most of the tabs have Tiger as main Cover story NE has Jen adopting baby, Angie suicide. NE has yet to put Tiger as the Main Cover only as sidebars . Something fishy

  28. pixiegirl says:

    Why oh why do I keep clicking on Tiger stories? It’s all so gross and depressing. I think he does deserve to experience some humiliation but his family does not. 🙁

  29. d says:

    My bet is that it’s very likely E didn’t know and that she really whupped him on the night of the accident. He has not been since in public since…I think he’s waiting for the bruises to go down. The kind of anger that erupts when you don’t about stuff like this vs. knowing about it but then it coming out in public isn’t the same. Meaning I can see her being angry that it’s all out in public, but not enough to bash the sh** out of something. But finding out about all this crap and not having known anything, knowing how people have lied to you…no, THAT kind of anger is very different.

  30. MSat says:

    As a 15-year journalism veteran, I like to think that The Enquirer got the last laugh here. They had to kill the first story and throw a bone to the publishing house’s “legit” magazine – but I’m sure they were just biding their time until they could bust Tiger cheating again – and that’s exactly what they did! Ruthless, to be sure. But Tiger is an idiot for getting caught again. Clearly he learned nothing from the first time except that his people would talk his way out of it.

  31. Enonymous says:

    Who would have though the National Enquirer would be such an accurate source of information, and people used to diss it. lol

  32. queenie says:

    @ oh hey

    ummmm….okay, so you haven’t been keeping up with the news i see. well it IS a federal crime if you are using business or charity monies for the purposes of prostitution, as in paying for prostitutes–and this is precisely what cheater woods might be up for.

  33. Jeez. You must be one cynical person to be part of his team. Or they are handsomely paid, too.


  34. valerie says:

    people always hate on the enquirer but i remember them breaking the story of britney’s little sis being pregnant…and she was of course

  35. sandy says:

    some insider always call NE for the story at hand, it’s not good journalist, john Edwards baby mommy friends and relatives called NE, tigers mistresses also, NE do not get the credit .

  36. queenie says:

    Why would one have to be cynical to be a part of the wandering peen team? I am sure most of cheater’s handlers were “team-Players” in every respect–if everyone is participating then it normalizes the behavior and makes whistleblowing less likely. Nice game played by all at the expense of wives and families. It would be interesting to know how many of the other “team Players” end up divorced over the next year.

  37. QB says:

    Why can’t this athletes learn from Derek Jeter??

    Apart from a rumour of having herpes because Jessica Alba had some prescriptions for herpes medication and he dated her for a short period of time and the rumour of he having an affair with Tyson , that the only evidence was a tattoo of Derek’s name on Tyson and that tattoo does not exist .

    He does not have any major scandal and he has being playing for the yankees for 14 years , Arod in only 4 got involve with prostitutes , tranny strippers and Madonna.

    Stay single , sleep with every women you want and people will just say you have commitment issues or you are a ” PLAYER”.

  38. Uzi says:

    “What are other rich and powerful celebrities and sports stars up to?” Exactly the same thing Tiger’s been doing, and sooner or later they’re going to get caught. Look at Mel Gibson, who’s had the best damage control team in Hollywood. It was an open secret in the industry that he’s been cheating on his wife for years. There have been numerous payoffs and confidentiality agreements to keep it all under wraps, which is why all his previous whores aren’t coming out of the woodwork like Tiger’s now that his adultery’s finally been exposed. Cheating celebrities, sports stars, politicians and their handlers have to realize that in the internet age they are no longer able to keep their double lives secret.

  39. Chris says:

    Seems like we all know now what was really getting Tiger big, lol

  40. oh hey says:


    I guess you didn’t read that sentence, “unless I missed something in the news…” Since I “haven’t been keeping up the the news” (better things to do, “unfortunately”), kindly provide a link.

  41. queenie says:

    @ oh hey…this was reported in an earlier article on this site i believe

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