Thanks for the Memories


This week in Backspin, we focus solely on the Tiger Woods saga, breaking it down report by report.

News reports around 2:30 p.m. ET Friday say Tiger Woods was involved in a one-car crash outside his Isleworth home. They say it happened about 12 hours earlier as he was leaving his house. It is reported Woods’ Cadillac Escalade struck a fire hydrant and then a tree, and he was listed in serious condition.

BackspinUpon changing the channel while leisurely watching the Alabama-Auburn football game, “Tiger in car crash!” was fonted across the TV screen on one of the local Orlando affiliates. My first thought was, “I really, really hope this was a real tiger driving a car.”

Conflicting reports come in saying that Woods was in a “minor” automobile accident, was treated at a local hospital and released, and aside from facial lacerations he was in good health. Police officials say that the officer who listed Woods in serious condition was required to do so since he was transported by ambulance to the hospital. They also say the accident was not alcohol related.

Backspin It was good to hear that Woods was OK, but there were still plenty of questions, namely: What was he doing leaving the house at 2:30 in the morning? Rumors covered cyberspace like a plague of beetles. ‘Ooh, he had a fight with his wife.’ 'Ooh, he's having an affair.' ‘Ooh, he was drunk and there’s a big cover-up.’ ‘Maybe he was just getting formula.’ ‘Maybe he was going to work out.’ My thought: How the hell is Auburn beating Alabama? issues a brief statement saying Woods is OK and there will be no further comment. Reports then surface that Woods’ wife, Elin, used a golf club to break out the back window of his SUV and drag him out of the vehicle. He was in and out of consciousness and there was blood in his mouth. He was transported to a nearby hospital and 12 hours after the accident occurred an official report was released.

Backspin Umm, I’ve seen Elin in person. She's awful pretty and fit as can be, but unless she has the ability to transform into She-Hulk when she’s angry, she’s not dragging a limp, 190-pound body over two rows of seats. Also, when you look at the photos from the crash, the rear window appears intact. The middle windows are down, so maybe she broke the 'back seat' windows. Still, it's hard to get a clear understanding of what happened without hearing from Tiger and/or Elin.

Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor tells media that the couple requested not to be interviewed Friday night, but instead Saturday morning so Tiger could get some rest. Authorities oblige, but when they return the next day they are told by Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, that the couple would not be speaking to them until Sunday.

BackspinGiving the police the Heisman. Intriguing move. By law, Woods isn’t required to give a statement, only his driver’s license, insurance and registration of the SUV. Still, silence always translates to: You have something to hide [even if you don’t]. Don't know where we're headed with all this but it looks like the road to Tabloid Town.

By now, Woods’ story has well exceeded the golf world. National news outlets and tabloid papers have descended upon Windermere, Fla. The notorious publishes photos from the accident. They also “report” a few other items.

BackspinWe’re not about to jump into their muck, but even The Associated Press addressed a story published two days prior to the accident by the National Enquirer, which said Woods had an affair with New York night club hostess Rachel Uchitel. Uchitel, who was said to have been in Melbourne with Woods during the Australian Masters, denied the claim. Unfortunately, rumor and innuendo are helping to form a clearer picture of the crash scene than fact. Woods really needs to speak. And have a really good story. reports Uchitel is meeting with publicity hound/lawyer Gloria Allred.

BackspinFive words never before written: It sucks to be Tiger.

Around 2 p.m. ET Sunday, it is reported that Tiger Woods' lawyer told the Florida Highway Patrol that his client will again not be speaking with them as planned, regarding the accident. No reason for the cancellation was given.

BackspinThis is Lucy and Charlie Brown. They keep running the same trick play and I – and the FHP – keep falling for it. Either Tiger's brain trust really knows what they are doing or they're allowing him to make the worst PR move of his life. You gotta believe it's the former since this guy is worth a bazillion dollars to them, but like 'Casablanca II,' it just doesn't seem right.

Police release audio of the 911 call, which was made by the neighbor whose tree Woods hit.

BackspinThe neighbor was a bit frantic, but the audio was too scratchy to be dramatic. It would have been much better if Woods lived next to the Don LaFontaine. And if Don LaFontaine wasn't dead.

Woods releases a statement on his Web site taking full responsibility for the accident. He says he is embarrassed and sore. He says his wife acted 'courageously' and says all the 'malicious rumors' are 'irresponsible.' He also asks people to respect his privacy on the matter.

BackspinWoods is usually in total control of a situation, especially when it comes to his personal life. But this time is very different. When something this public happens to someone so public, privacy isn't granted by simple request.