Tiger Woods hit by more lurid claims

WASHINGTON - The tabloid storm enveloping Tiger Woods gathered strength today with more lurid revelations from supposed mistresses and claims of million-dollar payoffs to cover up a string of alleged affairs.

Pleas from the world's number one golfer to be left alone after confessing last week to "personal sins" were ignored as Britain's tabloid press got in on the act and a raft of new allegations surfaced.

The News of the World, Britain's top-selling tabloid, published an interview with a restaurant manager who claimed to have slept with the golf star at his Orlando, Florida home.

The weekly newspaper alleged that Mindy Lawton, 33, was the first of his known affairs but that she was dumped by the golf star in early 2007 when he began seeing 24-year-old cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs.

Britain's Sunday Mirror reported that Woods had also had a fling with 26-year-old model Jamie Jungers in a Las Vegas hotel, but the source for the tabloid's claim was the woman's former fiance.

A US tabloid, The New York Daily News, linked Woods to a sixth woman, Cori Rist, who was quoted as saying she had: "No comment... Not at this time."

Woods, 33, apologised Wednesday for "transgressions" in his family life as a magazine posted what it said was evidence of an extra-marital affair between him and Grubbs.

Another alleged mistress Kalika Moquin, manager at a Las Vegas night club, told celebrity magazine Us Weekly on Thursday that rumours of an affair between her and Woods were "completely untrue."

The first woman linked to Woods, Rachel Uchitel, has also denied an affair but widespread tabloid reports say she is seeking a multi-million-dollar payout to prevent her from revealing a horde of damaging emails and messages.

Celebrity gossip site RadarOnline.com reported that Uchitel, who cancelled a scheduled press conference on Thursday citing "unforeseen circumstances," will receive between one and three million dollars for her silence.

Woods has yet to be seen in public since the furore erupted when he crashed his car on November 27 outside the Florida home where he lives with his wife Elin, a former Swedish model, and their two children.

Uchitel was first linked to Woods in a report two days before the golf star drove his car into a fire hydrant and then a tree, sustaining facial injuries that required hospital treatment.

After the crash, celebrity gossip websites speculated that Elin chased Woods with a golf club and smashed the rear windows of his vehicle, causing him to lose control.

The world's number one golfer ended five days of silence over the affair allegations after Us Weekly quoted Grubbs as saying she had secretly dated him for 31 months and met him for sex 20 times.

The magazine posted an online recording purported to be Woods urging Grubbs not to identify herself by name on her voicemail because he was afraid his wife was becoming suspicious.

"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," Woods said, but added he did not want to elaborate on his shortcomings in public.

"Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions," he said, attempting to draw a line under a scandal that has dented his squeaky clean image.

- AFP

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