Tiger Woods’s post-accident strategy, legal and otherwise, is now becoming clear: say as little as possible. And do whatever he can to make sure his wife, Elin Nordegren Woods, does the same. On his website on Sunday, Woods released a brief statement, acknowledging the obvious, that the situation is “embarrassing” and “stressful,” but asking for “some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.”
He did not address this week’s National Enquirer story, which claims that Woods has had an affair with a New York club promoter named Rachel Uchitel. Uchitel has denied the affair. The Enquirer has said that it stands by its story.
Woods also said in the statement that his wife “acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble” at the time of the accident, on Friday at about 2:30 a.m. “She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.”
The statement continued: “This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.”
On Sunday afternoon, Florida Highway Patrol officials released a tape of the emergency 911 call made by an Isleworth neighbor that describes Woods, who is not named in the conversation, on the ground, bleeding and unconscious after his 2009 black Cadillac Escalade struck a fire hydrant and the neighbor’s tree. The caller made no reference to Elin, even though Windermere, Fla., police chief Dan Saylor has said she smashed the back window of the vehicle with a golf club because the doors were locked and she could not get her husband out.
In the best of times, Woods is not one to be forthcoming with reporters or the public, and this, for him, is the worst of times. He has led an exemplary public life and this is the first time his image has taken any sort of serious hit. Since his 1996 professional debut, with the exception of one GQ interview that he regretted, Woods has answered questions dutifully but often with the fewest words possible. In the wake of the accident, his little-as-possible strategy is even more obvious.