American golfer Tiger Woods has admitted that the car accident that sent him to the hospital early Friday was his fault and it was "embarrassing" to him and his family. The Florida Highway Patrol went to the gated community where Tiger Woods lives, but investigators were told he was unavailable.
"I'm human and I'm not perfect," he said in a statement on tigerwoods.com, his Web site, before adding: "It's a private matter, and I want to keep it that way." Woods and his lawyers again declined to talk to the Florida Highway Patrol about the car accident. But Woods, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, released the statement accepting responsibility for the accident around the same time that the police released a tape of a 911 call made Friday morning by a man who identified himself in the call as Woods's neighbour.
In the statement, Woods took a contrite tone about the events that began at 2:25 a.m. Eastern on Friday and addressed the speculation - prompted by reports by The National Enquirer and others on gossip Web sites - about marital difficulties between Woods and his wife, Elin. On Friday, the Windermere, Fla., police chief, Daniel Saylor, said that Woods's wife had used a golf club to break the rear window of the sport utility vehicle to help extricate Woods.
Woods statement "Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumours that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible," Woods said in the statement.
He added: "My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false." Woods crashed his 2009 Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a neighbor's tree as he was pulling out of his driveway early Friday in the gated community of Isleworth, an Orlando suburb where many high-profile athletes live. He sustained cuts to his upper and lower lips and was left unconscious for some time, according to an incident report.
He was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was treated and released in good condition.
"I have some cuts, bruising and right now, I'm pretty sore," Woods said.
Police statement The police from the Orange County Sheriff's Office who responded to the original call said in a report that Elin Woods was present when they arrived, standing over her husband, who was lying in the road.
In the 911 tape that was released Sunday, the unidentified man asks that an ambulance be sent to the Isleworth subdivision, where Woods lives, because of a car accident.
"I have someone down in front of my house," the man says. "They hit a pole." Later in the four-minute call, the dispatcher asks, "Are they trapped inside the vehicle?" "No, they're laying on the ground now," the man replies.
A lawyer for Woods, Mark NeJame, informed the Florida Highway Patrol at 1 p.m. Sunday that Woods and his wife would not be submitting to an interview with the police.
It was the third time since the accident that Woods had been unavailable to police interviewers.
Drama The drama created a circuslike atmosphere in the Isleworth enclave. News media vehicles and satellite trucks parked between swiveling sprinkler heads on the manicured grass across from an entrance to the subdivision.
One man on a Harley-Davidson scolded the assembled news media, shouting, "Leave him alone" - a sentiment repeated by others throughout the day.
Many drivers honked, and some screamed, "We love you,
Tiger." At least six satellite broadcast trucks parked near the gate remained in place after state troopers left Isleworth shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, three hours after the announcement that the police interview had been canceled.
"Mr. Woods's attorney provided the troopers with Mr. Woods's driver's license information, registration and current proof of insurance as required by Florida law," Sgt. Kim Montes, a spokeswoman for the highway patrol, said in an e-mail message.
While the police said the crash remained under investigation and charges were pending, the Woods camp shifted into damage-control mode.
At the end of his statement, Woods asked the public and the news media to respect the family's privacy.
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