*Tiger Woods is missing a tooth because of an overzealous cameraman.
As previously reported, the golfer made a surprise visit to Italy on Monday to watch girlfriend Lindsey Vonn capture her record 63rd World Cup race. But the photo that generated all the buzz was Woods missing his front tooth.
The culprit, according to his agent, was a camera.
“During a crush of photographers as 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 said in an email. “Woods’ tooth was knocked out by the incident.”
Race organizers said this was not reported to them. They added that Woods did request extra security and a snowmobile to exit the finish area, and organizers met both 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, sunglasses and a stocking cap. The photo was taken when the scarf was lowered.
Woods first showed up in the athletes’ area when Vonn’s father, Alan Kildow, escorted him in shortly after Vonn took the lead. The golfer then surprised Vonn and gave the skier a hug.
After 10 to 15 minutes of standing near Vonn with her family, Woods was shown into a white tent usually reserved for measuring skis. He stayed there for nearly an hour while the last lower-ranked skiers came down and during the podium celebration. After the podium celebration, Woods was accompanied by police to a snowmobile and taken away.
Steinberg was traveling and did not say when Woods would have the tooth replaced. Golf’s biggest — and most photographed — star returns to competition next week in the Phoenix Open, and his smile is sure to produce a stream of shutters from the cameras.