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Tiger Woods’ missing tooth remains a mystery

Tiger Woods made a surprise visit to watch girlfriend Lindsey Vonn win a record 63rd World Cup title Monday in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, but he quickly became the center of attention.

Photos from the Associated Press show Woods missing his front left tooth. With media attention quickly escalating, Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent at Excel Sports, responded in an email to the AP that Woods was hit in the mouth during a crush of photographers at the awards podium. A media member with a shoulder-mounted video surged toward the stage, hit Woods and knocked out the tooth, Steinberg said. Woods was wearing a black stocking cap and a face mask with a skull design that, upon being lowered, revealed the missing tooth. No blood was visible on Woods or his clothing.

Race organizers told the AP that they were not informed of any incident.

“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 AP. “When he arrived, he asked for more security, and we rounded up police to look after both him and Lindsey.”

Steinberg did not say when Woods would have the tooth replaced. Woods has entered the Waste Management Phoenix Open, to be played at TPC Scottsdale on Jan. 29-Feb. 1.

Vonn seemed at first surprised by Woods’ presence in the Italian Alps but later conceded that she immediately recognized her boyfriend.

“He loves that stupid mask,” she told the AP.

In winning the super-G at the Olympia delle Tofane course, Vonn broke Annemarie Moser-Proell’s 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup victories. The AP described Vonn’s winning super-G run as “flawless.”

With Woods’ first start of 2015 looming, Vonn didn’t think he would make the trip overseas.

“I had no idea he was here,” Vonn said. “He told everyone to keep it a secret, and I’m surprised. Normally no one can keep a secret in my family. … He just showed up. … He has a tournament soon. So he’s got a lot of work, and I’m surprised that he was able to come all the way over here for a few hours to watch me ski.”

According to the report, Woods did not address media or take part in Vonn’s victory celebration.

Woods, 39, is coming off of a winless seven-event season that was cut short by microdiscectomy surgery. He has been stuck on 14 major championships since his dramatic playoff victory in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Woods’ 79 PGA Tour victories stands second on the all-time list to Sam Snead’s 82.

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