Where in the World Is Tiger Woods?

Blurry photo sparks rumor mill on whereabouts of golf icon.

ByABC News via logo
January 20, 2010, 7:25 PM

Jan. 21, 2010— -- Tiger Woods has dodged cameras since allegations of his infidelity made headlines the world over in November, but that hasn't stopped the deluge of rumors about the golf superstar's whereabouts and what he's doing there.

Most recently, the National Enquirer said it snapped some pictures of Woods outside a clinic in a small town in Mississippi where, the paper reported, he is being treated for sex addiction.

The grainy photograph drew other celebrity photographers, alongside major media outlets, to the normally sleep town of Hattiesburg, Miss., and inspired so much attention that the facility in question installed a large wall to separate reporters from the facility.

But Hattiesburg is just the latest in a series of reports on Woods' comings and goings, placing him anywhere from Long Island, N.Y., to South Africa, since he said Dec. 11 that he would be taking an "indefinite" leave of absence from golf.

British tabloid the Sun reported Jan. 14 that Woods checked into a pricey sex rehabilitation clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, and, sources claimed, the father of two had arrived between Christmas and New Year's.

Two days before the Sun published its report, an article at People.com claimed he was in a similar clinic in Wickenburg, Ariz., and, a source said, he had arrived "around New Year's."

The celebrity gossip site TMZ skeptically reported a rumor Dec. 3 that Woods had been spotted in New York City coming in and out of the Trump International Hotel.

Entertainment Tonight penned a "breaking news" report Dec. 28 that Woods was spotted partying with a purported mistress, Rachel Uchitel, in Palm Beach, Fla.

A week after Woods announced his leave of golf in mid-December, People.com reported he had taken his luxury yacht on a trip southward for the Bahamas.

Although that story was later disputed by two reporters who were reportedly staking out the boat, a report by Britain's Telegraph newspaper speculated that Tiger may have been aboard when the ship took off again from Florida in early January.

In the same story, the Telegraph reported that a spokesman for Woods denied earlier reports he had been hiding out at a house on Long Island.

"This kind of absurd, bizarre thing that Tiger Woods is reduced to a children's story -- Where's Waldo?" said USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan. "You're talking about one of the most recognizable people on the planet and no one can find him."

Tiger Makes Like Big Foot, Spotted by Friends of Friends

In each locale, someone purports to have seen the golf great, or at least knows somebody who knows somebody who saw him.

One Twitter user tweeted that he had a friend who worked at the Mississippi clinic and that the friend saw Woods walking down the hallway.

Hattiesburg resident Steve Brantley told the Associated Press he knew "someone whose sister-in-law's cousin saw him."

Clinic employees, as well as representatives for Woods, had no comment.

The rumor appears to have started Jan. 14 when a boxing Web site, 8countnews.com, reported that Woods checked into the Hattiesburg clinic, but was in the "process of confirming the authenticity" of the reports. A post on the sports blog SportsByBrooks.com, which followed the report's evolution from its humble beginnings to eventual worldwide distribution, called the whole thing "manufactured fantasy."

Fantasy or not, many paparazzi agencies are willing to put up the cash to send a few photographers out on the chase, sometimes in different locations at once, for a chance at the choice picture.

A clear, identifiable picture of Tiger Woods in the midst of such media hype would bring in several hundred thousand dollars, according to insider estimates.