Bishopscourt rehab centre ups security over Tiger rumours
A UNIFORMED security guard walks quickly to the high wrought-iron gate at the sound of an approaching car, a wary expression on his face, but backs off hastily and disappears as the vehicle cruises by.
The view of the Bishopscourt mansion is screened by a creeper-clad trellis, making it impossible to see beyond the driveway. If golfer Tiger Woods is indeed holed up at Montrose Place, there is little chance of catching a glimpse of him.
Most of the high-walled homes in this upmarket suburb on the lower slopes of Table Mountain have CCTV cameras.
The exclusive rehabilitation facility has had to bump up its security this week as rumours abounded that Woods had booked into Montrose Place.
Founded by Johnny Graaff, 30, a recovered drug addict, Montrose Place is the epitome of luxury.
All the action happens at the back of the villa, where the views of the mountain are breathtaking.
Clients can spend up to R75 000 a month here, their privacy guaranteed.
Reasons to leave the villa could include a trip to the Graaff family farm De Grendel, where Johnny’s brother, Robert, has Arab horses which are used for “equine-assisted psychotherapy”.
The garden is African-zen inspired, with wooden bridges across koi ponds, a pool, rolling lawns and spectacular views.
Clients are offered chef-prepared meals, counselling, and access to a psychiatrist.
World-weary clients are offered a range of therapeutic treatments. If Woods is indeed there he could be dabbling in art, or expressing himself in drama.
Swimming in the 15m pool would have been ruled out, as helicopters hovered over the estate this week, with photographers wielding long lenses hoping for exclusive pictures.
The modern gym offers the services of an on-site biokineticist, who assesses clients on admission and designs personalised training programmes.
Chances that Woods would leave the sanctuary to attend support meetings would be slim, a rehabilitation specialist said this week. “Montrose would not want to break his cover.”
This is the same place where Lord Irvine Laidlaw was treated for sex addiction in May last year.
Billionaire Laidlaw was exposed in the UK for flying prostitutes to his £6 000-a-night (R72 000) Monte Carlo hotel suite for sex parties. He later admitted he was a sex addict and had been fighting it his entire adult life.
Woods disappeared from the public eye at the end of November after claims he had had 14 lovers. Some of his sponsors, Accenture, Gillette, Gatorade and Tag Heuer have pulled the plug on him, and there are reports his wife, Elin Nordegren, wants a divorce.
Local and inter national media speculation that Woods had checked into Montrose Place first surfaced two weeks ago.
Graaff is no stranger to privilege – he is the greatgrandson of Sir David Graaff, grandson of Sir De Villiers Graaff (leader of the old United Party), and son of former National Party MP Sir David Graaff. The family are wealthy cattle, grape, wine and fruit farmers.
Most of Montrose Place’s clientele are foreign, and since opening three years ago, Graaff has opened offices in London, Geneva and Paris.
Montrose Place is South Africa’s first luxury extendedcare retreat specialising in addiction and other compulsive behaviours.
Meanwhile, Harmony House addiction counsellor Nicholas McDiarmid said although sex addiction was not yet defined as an illness in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV), it would probably be included in the next edition.
McDiarmid said there has been an increase in the number of high achievers, like sports and business people, seeking treatment for sex addiction.
“The public spotlight brings pressure to bear on their masks of calmness and certainty and they have to be stronger than others, so it is not uncommon for them to reach for external ‘help’.”
If Woods was a sex addict, he needed to be supported and not ridiculed, McDiarmid said, as he had an illness that needed to be treated.