Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods injured in car accident

Tiger Woods was injured when he lost control of his car outside his Florida mansion, and a local police chief said Woods’ wife used a golf club to smash out the back window to help get him out early Friday.

The world’s No. 1 golfer was treated and released from a hospital in good condition, his spokesman said. The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods’ vehicle hit a fire hydrant and a tree in his neighbor’s yard after he pulled out of his driveway at 2:25 a.m.

Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor told The Associated Press that officers found the 33-year-old Woods laying in the street with his wife, Elin, hovering over him.

She told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and “came out and broke the back window with a golf club,” he said. “She supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground. He was in and out of consciousness when my guys got there.”

Saylor said Woods had lacerations to his lips, and blood in his mouth; officers treated Woods for about 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived. Woods was conscious enough to speak, he said.

“He was mumbling, but didn’t say anything coherent,” Saylor said. The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods was alone in his 2009 Cadillac SUV when he pulled out of his driveway from his mansion at Isleworth, a gated waterfront community just outside Orlando.

The patrol reported Woods’ injuries as serious, although Woods spokesman Glenn Greenspan issued a statement that Woods was treated and released. The patrol said alcohol was not involved, although the accident remains under investigation and charges could be filed.

Left unanswered was where Woods was going at that hour. Greenspan and agent Mark Steinberg said there would be no comment beyond the short statement of the accident on Woods’ Web site.

Saylor said his responding officers did not hear anything about an alleged argument between Woods and his wife. “Right now we believe this is a traffic crash. We don’t believe it is a domestic issue,” patrol spokesman Sergeant Kim Montes said.

Woods, coming off a two-week trip to China and Australia this month, is host of the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California, which starts on Thursday. He is scheduled to have his press conference on Tuesday at Sherwood Country Club. Steinberg said he did not know if Woods planned to play next week.

The accident report was not released until nearly 12 hours after Woods was injured. Patrol spokesman Kim Montes said the accident did not meet the criteria of a serious crash, and the FHP put out a press release only because of inquiries from local media.

Montes said the patrol reports injuries as serious if they require more than minor medical attention. Air bags in the SUV did not deploy.

Two troopers tried to talk to Woods late Friday, but his wife said he was sleeping and they agreed to come back on Saturday, Montes said.

She said charges could be filed if there was a clear traffic violation, although troopers still do not know what caused Woods’ SUV to hit the hydrant and the tree.

Woods rarely faces such private scrutiny, even as perhaps the most famous active athlete in the world.

He usually made 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’ $2.4 million home is part of an exclusive subdivision set on an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and a chain of small lakes. The neighborhood, 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 14 majors and 82 times around the world, most recently at the Australian Masters on Nov. 15.

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.


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