Tiger Woods Was Here! (Sorta)

Mark Taborn is 37. Lives in Los Angeles. Works in the corporate world. And is a hack of a golfer carrying a 23 handicap.

Weird, because not a single day passes that he isn't confused for Tiger Woods.

I spent my blogless vacation doing some productive things: Jumping on the P90X workout program, de-jungling the back yard and memorializing Memorial Day like you do, devouring beers and brats. But last Friday I also chased porn star Joslyn James around town and bumped into this interesting Taborn fella.

James, the infamous Woods mistress who released the steamy sexts about choking and golden showers and whatnot, was in town promoting an upcoming porn titled The 11th Hole and hosting a charity golf tournament at Dallas' Cedar Crest Golf Course. I'll have the details of my stalking of Joslyn in this week's Observer column, but it's Taborn who merits some investigative curiosity.

The guy sooo looks and acts like Tiger that he almost - almost - fooled even James, who had a 3-year relationship with Woods.

"I was just sitting in the limo staring at him," James said. "He felt so real he had me trippin'."

Taborn has worked as a Tiger look-a-like since 2002, making roughly 100 appearances (and $100,000) a year mostly working corporate events, golf shows, magazine shoots, etc. But these days - in light of one of sports' all-time juiciest sex scandals - business is a booming.

"Tiger's infidelity has been a blessing," Taborn told me over dinner at the tournament's awards party at The Lodge Friday night. "I respect the image Tiger has built, and I know he could shut me down at any moment. This is the first time I've went with 'Bad Tiger', and it's pretty scary."

Taborn, who has never met Woods but signs his autograph "Tiger", says he gets stopped everywhere for pictures and autographs. He can't as much go grocery shopping without someone making a big fuss. He even has his own bodyguard, and that guy isn't a knock-off.

"If I don't wear the Nike cap or the red shirt sometimes I can be left alone," he said. "But if I'm in outfit (complete with Tiger's red Nike Sunday shirt), forget it. There's a crowd and media around me in no time. I don't see how Tiger deals with it day after day. It's horrible."

Taborn said he's even fooled some PGA players, chatting up Vijay Singh for a good 10 minutes on the practice green at a tournament before letting him in on the joke.

Said Taborn, "I totally had him."

No word on just how hard James fell for him.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt