911 tapes to be released from Tiger Woods crash
More than two dozen media and a cluster of television trucks camped Saturday outside the gates of the community where Tiger Woods lives, waiting for authorities to visit with the golfer to try to clear up questions about crashing his SUV into a neighbour's tree.
The Florida Highway Patrol said it expects to release tapes of the 911 call on Sunday and it will investigate the crash — that left Woods's mouth bloodied — as a traffic accident.
Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said investigators are "trying not to get on the rumour mill."
Police said the world's No. 1 golfer smashed his Cadillac into a fire hydrant and a tree near his $2.4-million US mansion at 2:25 a.m. Friday.
Plenty of vivid details from the car crash that sent Woods to the hospital have emerged. His lips were cut, and Windermere, Fla., police Chief Daniel Saylor said Woods's wife, Elin Nordegren, used a golf club to smash out a back window and help Woods from the car.
There are also plenty of questions. Troopers planned to speak to Woods about the wreck Saturday afternoon, and Montes said the investigation should be finished within the next couple of days.
By 2:45 p.m. Saturday, two Florida Highway Patrol vehicles had entered Woods's gated community.
One of Woods's neighbours, who didn't want her name to be used, said it was quiet in front of his house Saturday. She said there are usually two or three cars parked outside his home and that was the scene now as well.
The neighbour said everyone in the gated community was discussing Woods's crash.
According to the patrol, Woods had just left his Florida mansion when he lost control of his 2009 Cadillac and hit a fire hydrant, then a tree on his neighbour's property. The report said alcohol was not a factor.
The patrol reported the accident occurred at 2:25 a.m. Friday and classified the injuries as serious. The first word from Woods's camp — some 13 hours after the crash — was that it was a "minor accident," and he was in good condition after being treated and released.
Saylor said his two officers found the 33-year-old Woods lying in the street with his wife, Elin, hovering over him.
Saylor said Woods's wife told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and "broke the back window with a golf club." He said the front-door windows were not broken and that "the door was probably locked."
"She supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground," he said. "He was in and out of consciousness when my guys got there."
In a telephone interview, Woods's father-in-law, radio journalist Thomas Nordegren, told The Associated Press in Stockholm that he would not discuss the accident.
"I haven't spoken to her in the last few … " Nordegren said about his daughter, Elin, before cutting himself off. "I don't want to go into that."
Woods's mother-in-law Barbro Holmberg also refused to address the matter.
"She doesn't want to comment on private issues like these," Holmberg's spokeswoman Eva Malmborg said.
Asked at a Friday evening news conference if the couple could have been arguing, Saylor said he had no knowledge of that. The couple, married five years, have two children.
The accident came two days after the National Enquirer published a story alleging that Woods had been seeing a New York night club hostess, and that they recently were together in Melbourne, where Woods competed in the Australian Masters.
The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woods when contacted by the AP.
"I resent my reputation is getting completely blasted in the media," she said during a telephone interview late Friday. "Everyone is assuming I came out and said this. This is not a story I have anything to do with."
Uchitel said she was in Melbourne two weeks ago with clients and never saw Woods the entire time she was there.
"The story stands for itself," National Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine told the AP on Saturday.
Woods, coming off a two-week trip to China and Australia earlier this month, is host of the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif., which starts Thursday. He is scheduled to have his press conference Tuesday afternoon at Sherwood Country Club. Steinberg said he did not know if Woods planned to play next week.
Woods rarely faces such private scrutiny, even as perhaps the most famous active athlete in the world.
He usually makes news only because of what he can do with a golf club. Few other athletes have managed to keep their private lives so guarded, or have a circle of friends so airtight when it comes to life off the course.
Woods's $2.4-million US home is part of an exclusive subdivision near Orlando, a community set on an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and a chain of small lakes. The neighbourhood, which is fortified with high brick walls and has its own security force, is home to CEOs and other sports stars, such as the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal.
Woods has won 82 times around the world and 14 majors, becoming the first player of black heritage to win a major at the 1997 Masters when he was 21. He attended the Stanford-Cal football game last Saturday, where he tossed the coin at the start of the game and was inducted into Stanford's sports Hall of Fame at halftime.
He won six times this year after missing eight months recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Even though he failed to win a major, Woods said he considered this a successful year because he did not know how his knee would respond.