Tiger lashes out at magazine's allegations about wife

Updated: September 20, 2006, 11:10 PM ET
Associated Press

STRAFFAN, Ireland -- Tiger Woods was outraged Wednesday at an Irish magazine and a tabloid that linked photos of his wife to various pornography sites, and his agent was studying the merits of a lawsuit.

Wojciechowski from Ireland
After an Irish magazine published a nude photo purportedly of his wife, Tiger Woods got angry. And Team Europe won't like him when he's angry. Gene Wojciechowski details why. Story

The publisher, Dubliner Media Limited, issued an apology saying it was a satire and didn't expect anyone to take it seriously.

Woods was among those who did.

"My wife, yes, she has been a model prior, and she did do some bikini photos," Woods said. "But to link her to porn Web sites and such is unacceptable, and I do not accept that at all. Neither does our team."

The Dubliner magazine wrote in its September issue about Elin Nordegren, his Swedish wife of nearly two years.

"Most American golfers are married to women who cannot keep their clothes on in public," the magazine wrote. "Is it too much to ask that they leave them at home for the Ryder Cup? Consider the evidence. Tiger Woods' wife can be found in a variety of sweaty poses on porn sites."

The Irish Daily Star gave it front-page treatment Wednesday with the headline, "Tiger's Fury at Naked Pictures."

Inside the tabloid, it reprinted photos of Nordegren in a bikini, along with a nude photo of a woman purported to be Nordegren. Woods vehemently denied it was his wife when it first came out three years ago.

"The publisher and staff at The Dubliner acknowledge that the satirical article was inappropriate and wish to sincerely apologize to Tiger Woods, his wife, Elin Nordegren and other Ryder Cup players and their families for any offense they may have taken to it," said the statement.

"I know the media can be a little bit difficult at times, but when you ... it's hard to be very diplomatic about this when you have so much emotion involved, when my wife is involved in this. As I said, I don't want that to deter from the beauty of this event."
-- Tiger Woods

Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at IMG, said he was debating whether to pursue a lawsuit.

"It's ridiculous," Steinberg said from IMG headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. "I can't say much now because of prejudice, because I'm not sure what we'll do in the future. Everyone knew [the nude photo] wasn't her. It's plain as day. You can see it's not factual. It's kind of ironic they bring it up this week."

It was the first topic Woods brought up at his press conference leading up to The Ryder Cup, which starts Friday at The K Club.

"I thought Tiger handled that extremely well," U.S. captain Tom Lehman said. "He dealt with it first thing today. He got it out of the way so that we all move on. I think the whole team understands his frustration. Nobody likes that. But it was kind of like, 'I want to say something ... and let's get back to the business of the Ryder Cup.'"

Woods said his anger has nothing to do with the Irish people or the gallery who have come out to the golf course, even on Wednesday when the course was closed for three hours in the morning because of 40 mph wind and rain.

"I know the media can be a little bit difficult at times, but when you ... it's hard to be very diplomatic about this when you have so much emotion involved, when my wife is involved in this," Woods said. "As I said, I don't want that to deter from the beauty of this event."

Woods said making public his feelings was a matter of sticking up for his wife.

"You do things for the people you love and you care about," Woods said. "My father got ridiculed for years, and I always felt for my father and my mother the same way. My wife, we're in it together. We're a team, and we do things as a team. And I care about her with all my heart."

Phil Mickelson was asked how the U.S. team felt about the stories.

"I don't think it shows too much about your profession," Mickelson replied, pausing for effect. "Other than that, I just heard about it recently."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press