Tiger not yet out of the woods

One week after top-ranked American golf star Tiger Woods admitted cheating on his Swedish model wife, new reports kept a media firestorm swirling around the billionaire athlete for a fourth week in a row.

Tiger reportedly made a deal with Enquirer magazine in 2007 in exchange for suppressing photos revealing his infidelity. Meanwhile, former Swedish model Elin Woods is said to have turned to a high-powered Hollywood divorce attorney.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the National Enquirer kept quiet about a Woods affair in 2007 in exchange for the 14-time major champion speaking with sister publication Men’s Fitness for a cover story.

Under terms of the deal, the Enquirer would not publish photographs and a story on Woods having an extra-marital affair and Woods agreed to a cover and photo spread in Men’s Fitness, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

American Media Inc., which owns both publications, denied such a deal took place in a letter to the Journal while Woods agent Mark Steinberg had no comment to the newspaper.

Elin Woods has hired 82-year-old Sorrell Trope, a noted divorce attorney who has represented such stars as Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Nicolas Cage, Britney Spears and Cary Grant in a 60-year career, the New York Post reported.

Trope’s reputation as a tough dealmaker could help the former Swedish model, who reportedly signed a pre-nuptial agreement with Woods but might be in line for even greater riches given her humiliations of the past weeks.

At least 14 women have claimed – or been said to have had – affairs with Woods, who has commented only in statements on his websites and said nothing about the extent of his admitted infidelity.

Two days after an Enquirer report on Woods’s affair with showclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, he struck a tree and hydrant in an early morning drive, purportedly one caused by a row between him and Elin.

Mindy Lawton, a Florida restaurant employee who has claimed a liaison with Woods, was in the pictures not published by the Enquirer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Woods was photographed meeting Lawton in a church parking lot near the home he shared with Elin, according to the report, which added that the source told the newspaper the pictures were poorly lit and details were tough to make out.

But the mere threat of publication made by the Enquirer to representatives of Woods was enough for them to suggest the Men’s Fitness deal, the report said.

Woods at the time had a deal with Golf Digest for up to one million dollars in annual donations to his foundation in exchange for Woods limiting appearances in other magazines and writing a techniques column, it said.

The scrambling by Woods to buy silence from those who could expose details of his misdeeds is not yet over, according to celebrity website TMZ.

Woods is doing all that he can to save his marriage, including making calls behind-the-scenes to women with whom he had affairs about possible deals, it said. Prior reports had Woods paying Uchitel to remain silent.

Concerns had also been raised about Woods being aided in his recovery from knee surgery by Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who faces charges in Canada involving a banned drug and is linked to performance-enhancing substances.

Galea did nothing in helping Woods to violate doping rules, the doctor’s lawyer said Friday in Toronto.

“He had no links to Tiger Woods (or) any other athletes,” attorney Brian Greenspan said.

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