Tiger Woods, fiercely protective of his private life, is suddenly at the center of a storm of media speculation after an early morning car crash outside his Florida home on Friday.
At around 2:25 a.m. on Nov. 27, the golf champion steered his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree just feet from his house in the gated community of Islesworth, Fla.
What was Woods doing at the wheel of his car at that hour – and what caused him to crash?
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Those questions remain unanswered. “When [officers] got there, he was laying in the street,” Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor told PEOPLE. “His wife had broken out the back window with a golf club to get into the vehicle and pull him out.”
Woods’s wife, Elin Nordegren, reportedly used two golf clubs to shatter the back window of Woods’s SUV in an effort to remove him from the vehicle. “She was frantic, upset,” Saylor said in a briefing Friday night. “It was her husband laying on the ground.”
Woods had lacerations on his lower and upper lips and blood in his mouth, says Saylor, and lapsing in and out of consciousness. Alcohol was reportedly not a factor. When asked at the press briefing whether Woods and Nordegren had been arguing, Saylor said he had no knowledge of that.
Two troopers tried to interview the golfer Friday, but his wife said he was sleeping and the officers agreed to come back Saturday, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said.
The accident came two days after the National Enquirer alleged that Woods has been seeing another woman – New York night club hostess Rachel Uchitel, with whom the golfer reportedly spent time in Melbourne, Australia, where he recently competed in the Australian Masters, according to the tabloid.
Uchitel has since denied an affair with Woods. “I resent my reputation is getting completely blasted in the media,” she said, although she added that she has met Woods. “Everyone is assuming I came out and said this. This is not a story I have anything to do with.”
911 Tape Under Review
The Florida Highway Patrol said tapes of the 911 call reporting the accident outside Woods’s house won’t be released until after they have been reviewed. “Right now we believe this is a traffic crash,” Sgt. Montes said. “We don’t believe it is a domestic issue.”
Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, and spokesman, Glenn Greenspan, said there would be no comment beyond the statement posted Friday afternoon on Woods’s Web site, which read: “Tiger Woods was in a minor car accident outside his home last night. He was admitted, treated and released today in good condition. We appreciate very much everyone’s thoughts and well wishes.”
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Woods’s father-in-law, Swedish radio journalist Thomas Nordegren, told the Associated Press in Stockholm that he would not discuss the accident. “I haven’t spoken to [my daughter], Nordegren said in a phone interview. “I don’t want to go into that.” He later told the Swedish newspaper Expressen he had not talked to Woods “since he got back from the hospital.”
Woods’s mother-in-law, Barbro Holmberg, also refused to discuss the incident. “She doesn’t want to comment on private issues like these,” said her spokeswoman.
Woods is set to host the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif., starting Thursday, and to appear at a press conference Tuesday at Sherwood Country Club.
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