As links phenom Tiger Woods tries to win a record fifth major golf tournament in a row, his double, Canh Oxelson, is reaping some financial rewards of his own. Oxelson, 29, who graduated last week from Harvard with a master's degree in educational policy, is banking on his uncanny resemblance to Woods to help pay off more than $40,000 in student loans. His dream is to become a "policy advisor."
As an undergraduate, Oxelson worked his way through the University of San Francisco, earning more than $25,000 standing in for Woods at tournaments and cocktail parties. "You could say it's a lucrative hobby," he said.
The golfer and his look-alike met in Oakland during filming of a commercial in 1999. Oxelson, Woods' stand-in, was shocked by the resemblance, but the original Tiger didn't seem all that impressed. "He enjoyed it," Oxelson said, "but I don't think he was totally floored."
After Woods won the Masters tournament in April, Oxelson's phone started ringing off the hook. One day his Web site, tigersdouble.com, got so many hits that it crashed.
Whenever he stands in for Woods, Oxelson said, he's always upfront about his true identity. "Before I leave every event, I make sure everyone understands that I'm not the real Tiger. Obviously there are some legal ramifications." Woods, 25, continues his Drive for Five at the U.S. Open on Thursday in Tulsa. "Hopefully, Tiger and I age the same and I can do this for a while," Oxelson said.
Angelina and Cambodia
There's more to Angelina Jolie than the weird stories about her fondness for knives and husband Billy Bob Thornton's blood, which she carries in a tiny vial on a string around her neck. The tattooed actress, buffed out for her new film, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," also has a social conscience.
The rigorous film shoot, which involved a lot of ligament-straining running, jumping and kicking, took Jolie to London, Iceland and Cambodia, where she encountered people who still carry scars from the 1970s-era genocide. Crews shot amid ancient temples and overgrown jungles in the Angkor Wat area, which had been off-limits to movie crews since the 1964 filming of "Lord Jim."
Jolie says she'll return to Cambodia to help sponsor construction and staffing of a new school, an effort started by UNHR, the United Nations Human Rights organization and Refugees International.
"You go to these places and you realize what life's really about and what people are really going through," she said at Monday night's premiere. "These people are my heroes. I couldn't possibly ignore it now that I know."
Cleaning Up His Act
MTV's Andy Dick is clean and sober after 18 months in a diversion program, and the drug charges against him have been dismissed. On Monday, L.A. Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus tossed out a felony cocaine possession charge and misdemeanor counts of possessing marijuana and a smoking device. In a statement, Dick said he is happy he had the time to "conquer my problems." He added, "I've never been happier emotionally, in my family and in my career."
The drug counts were filed after a May 1999 car crash in which the former "NewsRadio" star drove into a utility pole near the Hollywood Bowl. He remains on probation for drunk-driving and hit-and-run misdemeanors, which were not included in the diversion program.
The Price of Fame
A Los Angeles public relations firm has won a $5,050 small-claims judgment against former "Family Ties" star Tina Yothers.
Luck Media & Marketing Inc. and its president, Steve Levesque, recently persuaded a judge in Beverly Hills that Yothers owed the company for two months of publicity for "Confessions," a CD by the group Jaded, which Yothers fronts.
"She was fun to work with," Levesque said. "She just didn't pay."
Yothers called the claim "completely bogus," adding, "I have no personal contract with the company." She vowed to appeal.
The Agony of De-Feet
Top ranked women's tennis pro Martina Hingis has sued Italian shoe manufacturer Sergio Tacchini in state court in Manhattan, claiming its tennies hurt her tootsies and forced her to withdraw from tournaments in 1998 and 1999, including Wimbledon.
According to Fashion Wire Daily, Hingis says that she wore the shoes as part of a $4.9-million deal but that they caused chronic foot injuries. "She was examined by a Manhattan doctor, who confirmed the injury was chronic and caused by tennis shoes manufactured by Tacchini," the suit states.
Tacchini terminated its contract with Hingis in 1999--two years early--claiming comments she made about the painful tennies hurt the company's image.
Hingis seeks $34 million in damages, claiming negligence and breach of contract. A spokesperson for the shoe company could not be reached.
Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.