Tough Guy Tiger: Woods Goes Shirtless for Mag

Vanity Fair cover was shot before golfer's sex scandal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new magazine cover shot before Tiger Woods' image-shattering sex scandal shows the golf superstar bare chested and pumping iron.

    If Woods hadn't already turned his squeaky-clean image upside down with a string of affairs outside his marriage, the Vanity Fair cover picture shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz might have caused a bigger stir. Woods is shirtless, wearing a black skullcap as he curls barbells and stares stone faced at the camera. It's a far cry from the wholesome, family-friendly persona he cultivated into a $100 million-per-year endorsement machine.

    That all came crashing down in between the photo shoot and the publication date, when Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a neighbor's tree in the  wee hours following Thanksgiving. Word leaked out of a row with his wife, Elin Nordegren, and that was soon followed by a parade of more than a dozen women identified as having had affairs with Woods.

    Since then, Woods has lost several lucrative endorsement deals and the status of his marriage is uncertain. a public statement apologizing for "infidelities," Woods has kept to the tall grass.

    The cover promises "raw" and "never-before-seen" photos inside with an essay by Pulitzer Prize winner Buzz Bissinger, who explores the 33-year-old golfer's fall from grace.

    "In the end it was the age-old clash of image versus reality...." he writes. "He deluded himself into thinking he could be something that he wasn't: untouchable. The greatest feat of his career is that he managed to get away with it for so long in public, the bionic man instead of the human one who hit a fire hydrant."