Media scrutiny of Tiger Woods has shifted from his alleged romances in Las Vegas to the man credited with his recently robust physique.
Keith Kleven, Woods’ longtime Las Vegas-based trainer, is in the spotlight after it was announced that a joint U.S.-Canadian investigation is looking into a Canadian doctor who treated the world’s No. 1 golfer.
The FBI was called in after the Oct. 15 arrest of Dr. Anthony Galea in Toronto. After Galea was stopped at the border, human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, were found in a bag in his car, according to The New York Times.
Galea’s attorney denied any wrongdoing.
Media outlets have turned their attention to Kleven, 67, who is not commenting. Vegas Confidential has heard rumblings that he may have split with Woods in recent months.
Woods’ beefed-up body has been raising eyebrows in recent years when he gained about 30 pounds while featuring a chiseled look. During his college years at Stanford, Woods was nicknamed “Urkel,” after Steven Urkel, the rail-thin, nerdy star of the 1990s hit TV show “Family Matters.”
The New York Daily News said in a report Saturday that Kleven’s silence “has done little to stop the speculation about the dramatic changes in Woods’ body beginning around 2004, the same year other Kleven clients began noticing Woods’ regular appearances in the Kleven Institute and peaking around 2006 or 2007.”
Vegas Confidential was contacted by several major media outlets in recent days, each citing my Sept. 8, 2006, interview with Kleven, who said Woods had gained 25 pounds of muscle. At the time of the interview, Woods had won five tournaments in a row.
The Woods-Kleven connection goes back to the early 1990s, just before Woods committed to attending Stanford.
“He came to UNLV to look at the school and to talk to me. I was caddying and working for (golfer) Mark O’Meara,” said Kleven, whose institute is at 3820 S. Jones Blvd.
Kleven told me that Woods had become an animal in the gym during the conditioning program. “I send new things to him all the time,” Kleven said.
The Daily News ran this Kleven quote from a Men’s Fitness magazine cover story in 2007: “Pound for pound, I put him with any athlete around.” Woods’ lifting level, Kleven added, “is off the charts.”
Kleven’s clients include former boxing champions Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson, baseball All-Stars Greg Maddux and Jason Giambi, and a who’s who of local headliners and VIPs. He is a member of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame and has been working with UNLV’s golf program since 1989.
“There may be no more influential person in Southern Nevada’s sports history than Kleven, a licensed physical therapist,” according to VegasGolfer Magazine’s January 2008 issue.
NO MARQUEE DISTRACTION
Notably missing from the main entrance to CityCenter: a marquee.
It’s as much a Las Vegas tradition as cocktail servers in skimpy outfits.
Alan Feldman, vice president of communications for MGM Mirage, had the answer: “With all of the wonderful architecture as part of CityCenter’s personality, it was decided to not have a front marquee.
“There is a spectacular marquee in the back along the I-15.”
NO. 5 FOR OSBORNE
Bellagio pianist David Osborne performed at the White House last week for his fifth sitting president. He played two nights in a row.
Osborne’s presidential run began with Ronald Reagan, followed by George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
During a chat with Obama at a reception after the president’s health care message, Osborne mentioned that their meeting was going to be an item in a certain gossip columnist’s column.
“Not the R-J!?” gasped the president.
THE PUNCH LINE
“I got what I wanted for Christmas. Balloon Boy’s dad is going to jail.” — Jay Leno
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email@example.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.