A photo of Tiger Woods chipping a ball at the final hole of the Ryder Cup is remarkable for two reasons. One, Woods' ball is heading straight for the lens of photographer Mark Pains. Better yet, there's a a strangely dressed golf fan in the background with a "Groucho Marx-like moustache" and a cigar sticking out of his mouth. Since the photo was snapped just a week ago, "Cigar Guy" has become an internet sensation. He has been inserted into photos that show him hanging out with everyone from the "Lost" cast to Fidel Castro to the Beatles. Just who is the guy behind the internet meme? (Watch a CNN report about "Cigar Guy")
Who is he?
Rupesh Shingadia, a 30-year-old investment analyst and golf fan who lives with his parents in South London. He calls himself "an ordinary guy who loves golf."
How was his identity revealed?
A blogger offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who could reveal his identity, but U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail eventually tracked him down to his parents' home and got the first interview with him.
So why was he dressed like that?
Shingadia told The Daily Mail that his outfit was a "tribute" to Miguel Angel Jimenez, a Spanish golfer. "Miguel does his own thing, and I love the way he walks around the course with a cigar clamped between his teeth."
How did he assemble the costume?
He bought a mustache and wig online and procured a Montecristo cigar from a tobacconist. The rest of the outfit — Reiss pants, a Pringle sweater, and a North Face jacket — came from his closet.
How does he feel about being an internet phenomenon?
"I'm glad it has put a smile on people's faces," he told the Daily Mail. "[But] if I had known the incredible reaction it would produce, the way that Cigar Guy has snowballed, I would probably never have put on my costume."
Has anything about his life changed as a result of his internet fame?
Not really. Shingadia is still planning to get up and go to work every day. "I'm not expecting it to change my life in the long term," he says. Some have proposed marriage to him on Facebook, but he has no plans to take any lady up on the offer, saying "I'd want them to love me for who I am – not just Cigar Guy."
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