Tiger Woods’ extraordinary private life began to unravel when his wife began texting his alleged mistress while pretending to be him, it was alleged yesterday.

The Daily Beast website reported that Woods had convinced his wife, Elin Nordegren, to talk on the phone with Rachel Uchitel, a 35-year-old nightclub hostess, in an attempt to convince her that rumours were untrue.

However, the next day, after Woods had taken a sedative and fallen asleep, Ms Nordegren texted Ms Uchitel pretending to be Woods – and received replies that suggested an illicit liaison.

She then woke the golfer and chased him out of their house with a golf club. Woods, still in a stupor from his sleeping pill, got in his car and crashed it in the street.

The argument sparked one of the biggest celebrity stories of the decade, with claims later emerging that Woods had liaisons with more than a dozen women.