So how did Tiger Woods keep his private life a secret for so long?

An article by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger in the new issue of Vanity Fair contains interviews with reporters who covered Woods in an attempt to find out the answer.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

After a 1997 interview with GQ magazine in which Woods, then 21, offered his views on several off-color subjects, he learned to clam up, especially after he signed with powerful sports agent Mark Steinberg, Bissinger writes.

The story runs with a cover photo of a shirtless Tiger, taken by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, before the December 2009 events that wrecked Woods' reputation.

"Tiger is an intensely competitive athlete - and quite serious about his sport," Leibovitz said in a statement posted on Vanity Fair's Web site. "I wanted to reveal that in these photos. And to show his incredible focus and dedication."

Meanwhile, Woods' whereabouts remained a mystery. TMZ.com says he's in Africa at a friend's estate. But other reports say he is at the Trump International on Central Park West. Sponsor Electronic Arts also announced Monday that it will stand behind Woods, at least until the company's latest game, "Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online," is officially released.