updated 01/12/2010 AT 2:55 PM ET
•originally published 01/12/2010 AT 3:15 PM ET
In the ever-changing story about Tiger Woods, word has resurfaced that he may have entered an upscale clinic in Arizona for sex rehab, according to sources contacted by PEOPLE.
The sources say that Woods entered The Meadows, a clinic in Wickenburg, Ariz., sometime around the holidays – a rumor that first made the rounds last month. The clinic specializes in substance abuse, as well as compulsive disorders such as gambling or sex addiction.
A sex-therapy expert who claims to be familiar with the situation says Woods, 34, showed up in Wickenburg around New Year’s and would likely plan to stay for 4 to 5 weeks of treatment. “He should be out by Valentine’s Day or thereabouts,” says the source.
The golf champ’s whereabouts have been the subject of intense speculation since he crashed his car after a Thanksgiving fight with his wife Elin Nordegren. Reports have placed him on Long Island, in the Bahamas, in Africa, on the Oregon coast – and now again in Wickenburg, a town of only 6,400 people and some 60 miles northwest of Phoenix. There was talk around town that he flew in by helicopter shortly before Christmas, though a well-placed source placed him in California with Elin and his mother for Christmas.
On the heels of his alleged arrival, a local pizza shop posted a sign reading, “Hey, Tiger, we deliver,” and a local TV station sent a crew. Yet for all the commotion, Woods has not actually been seen.
Can Therapy Help Tiger?
Therapists differ on whether rehab would be of use to Woods, and even whether he suffers from sex addiction at all. Sharon O’Hara, clinical director of the Sexual Recovery Institute of Los Angeles, says she doesn’t know where Woods is, but thinks it’s more likely that he’d have a therapist come to him privately rather than check into a clinic. Still, she adds, he could benefit from being “with other guys with the same problem.”
She and Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, think the fact that the golfer supposedly had months-long affairs with some of his mistresses is evidence of a “love addiction” more than sex obsession.
“The feature here that has caught everyone’s attention is that he seems to be maintaining relationships with all these people – not just have sex with them,” says Pinsky. “Exactly what’s behind that, that’s the part that hasn’t come out yet We’re speculating sex and love are the primary issues. They may not be.”
O’Hara agrees, saying, “Apparently he also has a need to be adored, to see himself reflected in their eyes and have it mean something.”
In the end, Pinsky says Woods’s best hope emotionally is if his wife, who is said to be considering a split, stands by him: “We would recommend his wife not break up with him and that she get involved in the treatment process.”
“It’s not,” adds Pinsky, “a hopeless situation.”
With reporting by HOWARD BREUER and REBECCA ALLEN