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"Cigar Guy" Is Unmasked

U.S. Team member Tiger Woods attempts to chip a third shot onto the green at the final hole of fourball at the 2010 Ryder Cup, at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, Oct. 4, 2010. (Mark Pain/Daily Mail)
Mark Pain/Daily Mail
U.S. Team member Tiger Woods attempts to chip a third shot onto the green at the final hole of fourball at the 2010 Ryder Cup, at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, Oct. 4, 2010. (Mark Pain/Daily Mail)
Mark Pain/Daily Mail

The mystery is solved.

His face has become a viral sensation and a Photoshopper's favorite mash-up figure: The man whose Groucho Marx-like moustache and cigar raised eyebrows among those examining the immortal Ryder Cup photo of Tiger Woods' ball heading directly for photographer Mark Pain's lens.

For his wide eyes and smile, stogie and wig, the spectator was dubbed "Cigar Guy."

His face was inserted into the background (and even center stage) of other iconic sports photos, eventually migrating onto other areas of the world stage - cavorting with singers, world leaders, on a Civil War battlefield with Abraham Lincoln, and with the cartoon Simpson Family. There's a Cigar Guy fan club. [Tauntr.com has a compilation of choice images.]

With more and more interest on the Internet and the media, the question du jour became, "Who is Cigar Guy?"

Ian Gallagher and Andy Whelan of the U.K. Daily Mail now answer: He is golf fan Rupesh Shingadia, 30-year-old investment analyst in London. He shares a house with his parents, a retired mechanic and housewife.

In an exclusive interview Shingadia told the Mail, "I am embarrassed and overwhelmed. Never in a million years could I have expected anything like this.

"It is truly surreal."

He said his "costume" was paying tribute Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez: "I love the way he walks around the course with a cigar clamped between his teeth."

Describing himself as "an ordinary guy who loves golf," Shingadia said he probably would never had dressed as he did if he'd known how far it woudl snowball. But, he added, "I'm glad it has put a smile on people's faces."

The Mail writes Shingadia was unaware that there are marriage proposals for Cigar Guy circulating online, and wary. "I'd want them to love me for who I am - not just Cigar Guy."

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.