According to the Wall Street Journal, the National Enquirer episode began with an encounter in the late winter or early spring of 2007 in a church parking lot near Mr. Woods's home in Windermere, Fla., according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. A person working on behalf of the National Enquirer, based in Boca Raton, Fla., tailed Woods to the empty parking lot, these people said.
Hidden from view, the photographer snapped photographs of the married Mr. Woods meeting a woman in his car. After the encounter, the photographer followed Mr. Woods to a small airport, where the golfer got on a private jet and took off, those people said.
The photos were so poorly lit that it was nearly impossible to tell what the couple was doing in the parking lot, says one person who saw the pictures. This person said it was unlikely the story could have been published without more evidence. At any rate, the Enquirer notified Woods' representatives, and the woman in the photograph, that the publication had photographic evidence of the golfer having an affair and was ready to expose the encounter, according to people directly involved. It didn't disclose to Woods's representatives that the quality of the photographs was so poor, according to those people.
Within hours, Woods' representatives told the Enquirer that Tiger wouldn't comment on the alleged affair, people close to the matter said. But the reps made an offer: if the Enquirer dropped the story,. Woods would sit for an elaborate interview for sister publication Men's Fitness, according to people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
After Woods's camp offered the interview to American Media, people familiar with the matter say the company began negotiating with Lavely & Singer, a 15-lawyer firm in Los Angeles that is known for its aggressive tactics in disputes surrounding the publication of controversial articles about celebrities. Neither Jay Lavely Jr., who represents.Woods, nor his partner, Martin Singer, responded to questions from the Journal.
After weeks of discussion, the two sides hammered out a contract detailing guidelines for the interview and the photo shoot, as well as the guarantee that the story of Mr. Woods's rendezvous in the church parking lot wouldn't be printed, according to a person who has seen the document.