December 5, 2009

SIX FEET HIGH AND RISIN':

Tiger Woods, the $8-an-hour diner waitress and the deal that kept their affair out of the news (Sharon Churcher, Mail on Sunday Chief American Correspondent and Caroline Graham, Mail on Sunday LA Correspondent, on 06th December 2009, Mail on Sunday)

Today, Mindy Lawton, 34, knows that she was just one of many mistresses taken by the golfer. But, according to her family, throughout their 14-month affair she laboured under the delusion that what she had with Tiger was special and that they were in love.

Mindy's sister, Orlando primary school teacher Lynn Lawton, said: 'She is extremely, extremely naive, my sister. She is single, never married, never had children and still looking for a relationship. I have to hand it to him. It was brilliant to choose my sister to play his kind of game.'

The unworldly Mindy was easily dazzled and undemanding. She and Tiger met in summer 2006, when Mindy was working as an $8-an-hour manager and waitress at Perkins, a diner only a short drive from Tiger's home in the upmarket Orlando suburb of Windermere. Tiger and his wife Elin would regularly take breakfast there.

Lynn recalled: 'My sister told me they came in regularly. Elin would read the paper while Tiger ogled my sister. She is very bubbly, very outgoing. You couldn't help but notice her, even when she was in her waitress uniform.

'Mindy said he and Elin seemed disconnected. There would not be much conversation. Tiger would just sit there, looking at Mindy. She said, "Oh my God, he is so cute!"

'She doesn't know much about golf, but she did know he was married because Elin was sitting there.'

One day, Lynn said, Mindy called in a state of excitement: 'She said he had called her at Perkins and said, "This is Tige," - that's the pet name he always used for himself - "Will you meet me at the Blue Martini?"

'She was very excited but nervous so she asked our next oldest sister, Bobbi, to go with her. She was like, "Oh, I'm going to hang out with Tiger!"'

It is now known that this nightclub and cocktail bar was a favourite haunt of Tiger's - a place where he could entertain, and be entertained, in the relative privacy of the club's VIP section, surrounded by girls, minders and selected male friends.

Again, it is striking how relatively little effort he seemed to make to conceal these clandestine meetings. But, as Mindy was to find out, Tiger's powerful entourage and management were masters in protecting their money-maker's image.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 5, 2009 9:12 PM
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