Case closed but Woods scrutiny continues

By Associated PressDecember 2, 2009, 6:51 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn’t have to say a word to get Florida troopers off his case. The same strategy may be harder to pull off when it comes to the tabloid media probing his private life.

The police inquiry into the early morning car crash involving one of the world’s most famous athletes came to a close Tuesday, even though Woods refused to talk to the Florida Highway Patrol. Woods was charged with careless driving, which carries a $164 fine and four points on his driving record.

That good news for Woods was tempered by the cover story of Us Weekly magazine, which hits newsstands Wednesday, alleging that a Los Angeles cocktail waitress had a 31-month affair with the world’s No. 1 golfer.

Jaimee Grubbs told the magazine she met Woods at a Las Vegas nightclub the week after the 2007 Masters – two months before Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, gave birth to their first child. Grubbs claims to have proof in 300 text messages, and the magazine said it would release a voice mail message that Woods left for Grubbs last week on its Web site Wednesday.

Woods, meanwhile, remained in seclusion in the exclusive gated community of Isleworth, while some of the world’s top golfers were in Southern California preparing for the start of a tournament he hosts. Woods, citing injuries from the crash, issued a statement Monday saying he would not attend or play in the Chevron World Challenge.

Woods, who was briefly unconscious after the crash, never spoke with investigators, who asked to see him on three different occasions. Instead, he provided his driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, as required by Florida law.

The patrol “is not pursuing criminal charges in this matter nor is there any testimony or other evidence to support any additional charges of any kind other than the charge of careless driving,” said Sgt. Kim Montes, a spokesman for the highway patrol. “Despite the celebrity status of Mr. Woods, the Florida Highway Patrol has completed its investigation in the same professional manner it strives to complete each traffic investigation.”

After consulting with the local prosecutor’s office, investigators also decided there was insufficient evidence to issue a subpoena that would have given them access to records from his hospital visit after the crash, Montes said.

The allegations in Us Weekly of an affair with Grubbs came on the heels of last week’s National Enquirer story alleging Woods had been seeing New York nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, who has denied it.

That story came out just two days before Woods wrecked his SUV in the early morning hours following Thanksgiving. The accident – and Woods’ refusal to answer questions – fueled speculation among tabloids and gossip Web sites about a possible dispute between Woods and his wife, who told police she used a golf club to smash the back windows of the SUV to help him out.

But Montes said there were “no claims of domestic violence by any individual” stemming from the accident. And an attorney for the neighbors who called 911 said Woods did not appear to be driving under the influence and showed no signs of having been in a fight.

Attorney Bill Sharpe said neighbors found Nordegren kneeling beside her husband, upset about his injuries. Sharpe said Woods appeared woozy and had scratches on his face and that his wife was trying to console him.

By skipping his tournament, Woods was able to escape the TV cameras and a horde of media seeking more details. The event was to be the last of the year for Woods anyway, and he did not say when or where he would make his return next year.

But Woods remained the subject of intense media scrutiny, and the Us Weekly report didn’t help his appeal for privacy.

According to the magazine, Grubbs said she was 21 when she was approached by Woods at a Las Vegas nightclub on April 13, 2007. The magazine said the meeting “progressed into a clandestine on-and-off affair” that lasted nearly three years and included hundreds of texts.

“I hope he can forgive me for doing this and I know he probably can’t,” Grubbs is quoted as saying. “Whatever happens with Elin, I hope Tiger and I can reconnect and remain good friends.”

An AP reporter went to a residence in Escondido, California, seeking comment from Grubbs. A person who identified himself as Cody came to the door but didn’t open it, said she wasn’t there.

Grubbs recently appeared on VH1’s reality series, “Tool Academy.”

Associated Press Writer Antonio Gonzalez and AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.