Woods takes blame for ’embarrassing’ crash
MIAMI (AFP) ñ Golf superstar Tiger Woods broke his silence two days after crashing his car Sunday, saying the “embarrassing” accident was his fault, and hitting out at “unfounded and malicious rumors.”
In a statement posted on his website, Woods said he was solely responsible for the accident, which attracted worldwide attention and sparked speculation about his private life.
“This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me,” Woods said. “I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
But Woods again declined to speak to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, who had expected to talk with him Sunday afternoon as part of their investigation into the accident.
Officers, who were turned away on both Friday and Saturday, were to meet Woods at his home and discuss how his car came to hit a fire hydrant and then a tree near his two million-dollar home in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida.
Sergeant Kim Montes, a spokeswoman from the Florda Highway Patrol, said Woods’ lawyer Mark Nejame informed the patrol that Woods would not be meeting with troopers Sunday afternoon.
“It has not been rescheduled,” said Montes, who said the crash remains under investigation.
Woods is not required by Florida law to make a statement to officers investigating a traffic accident. Authorities have already said alcohol wasn’t a factor in the crash. Montes said that the investigators had merely wanted to give Woods an opportunity to give his version of events.
The FHP released a recording of a 911 emergency call in which a shaken neighbor of Woods tells dispatchers that a black Cadillac Escalade hit a tree.
“I have someone down in front of my house,” says the caller, who is not identified and never mentions Woods by name. “I see him, he’s laying down.”
During the call, a woman yells out in the background “What happened?”
The neighbor responds that he has police on the line to report the accident. Not long after, the poor telephone connection is lost.
Daniel Saylor, police chief of the Orlando suburb of Windermere, has said Woods’ wife, Elin, used a golf club to smash out a rear window to help him get out of his Cadillac SUV when she heard the crash from inside their home in the at 2:25 am Friday.
While Woods broke his silence with his website statement, he gave few details, calling the incident a private matter.
“Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible,” he said.
Leading the speculation about the crash, the celebrity news website TMZ.com reported that a dispute between the couple was at the center of the accident.
By the website’s account, Nordegren confronted her husband about tabloid reports that he was having an affair with a New York club hostess.
“The only person responsible for the accident is me,” Woods said. “My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.”
Woods was treated for facial cuts and released from hospital on Friday.
An initial FHP report that Woods was in “serious” condition in hospital sparked a frantic wave of media coverage. A clutch of reporters have since been camped out near Woods’s home.
“This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me,” Woods said. “I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.”
Woods, a 14-time major champion, is one of the best-known athletes in the world. According to Forbes business magazine, he is the first athlete to break through the billion-dollar earnings mark.
He and his wife have been married for five years and have two children, daughter Sam Alexis, born in 2007, and son Charlie Axel, born in February.
At age 25, he became the first man to win the US Open, the British Open, the USPGA and the Masters on a roll to make him the first simultaneous holder of all four major championship titles.
Woods is scheduled to play his last tournament of 2009 next week, when he hosts the Chevron World Challenge in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks, California. The annual event benefits his charitable foundation.
Woods was scheduled to hold a news conference at the tournament on Tuesday, and that schedule had not been revised as of Saturday evening.
Woods takes blame for ’embarrassing’ crash