Tiger Woods Eludes Investigators Amid New Pics Showing His Crashed SUV

Florida Highway Patrol: Golf great unavailable for scheduled interview on crash.

November 27, 2009, 2:52 PM

Nov. 28, 2009— -- For a second day, investigators were rebuffed in their attempts to interview Tiger Woods about an SUV accident early Friday near his home that involved injuries serious enough to send him to a hospital.

Florida Highway Patrol investigators were seen arriving at Woods' home in Orange County, Fla., just before 3 p.m. ET, according to ABC News Orlando affiliate WFTV, and leaving almost an hour later.

"The Florida Highway Patrol has received information that Tiger Woods and his wife were not available to be interviewed by state troopers, as we had previously scheduled," spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said in an e-mail to the media Saturday evening. "This announcement came from his agent. Troopers were asked to return tomorrow (November 29th). This is still an ongoing crash investigation."

Two Florida Highway Patrol troopers also tried to interview Woods Friday evening at his home, according to The Associated Press, but Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, turned them away, saying Woods was sleeping.

The latest failed attempt to interview Woods came as WFTV ran exclusive photos showing Woods' 2009 Cadillac Escalade smashed into a tree.

The WFTV images fit the initial police descriptions of the event -- that Woods, 33, crashed his vehicle into a fire hydrant and then a tree near his Windermere, Fla., home at 2:25 a.m. Friday.

Authorities said it is possible they eventually may release 911 tapes pertaining to the accident.

"The 9-1-1 tapes provided to FHP investigators from the Orange County Sheriff's office have not been reviewed by the investigating trooper," Montes said in her e-mail. "Once that has been done and we determine whether or not it is pertinent to our case, I will advise you when those will be released. ... Please remember there is no specific timeline on when that will occur. The Florida Highway Patrol is the sole agency investigating this traffic crash."

There has been only minimal comment on the accident from Woods' camp, which described the accident as "minor" on Friday.

Christine Brennan, an ABC News sports consultant and USA Today sports columnist, suggested on "Good Morning America Weekend" Saturday that there remain many open questions.

"What is this? It's completely incongruous to Tiger's image that he would be doing this at 2:30 in the morning," Brennan said. "He's got a wife. He's got two young children. If he's going out to get something for the baby, OK, great, then tell us. I think that's confusing to people and understandably confusing to people."

The eight exclusive photos on WFTV show the SUV's front passenger tire crashed into the tree with a golf cart and blanket beside it. The eyewitness who took the photos said there were two golf irons in the street and both backseat windows were broken, WFTV reported.

Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor said Friday that Nordegren used a golf club to smash out the back window and get her husband out of the car, WFTV reported.

Nordegren told officers she was in their house when she heard the accident and came outside.

"My two officers arrived to the scene and found Tiger Woods laying on the ground in front of his vehicle with his wife over him rendering first aid," Saylor said.

Woods was in and out of consciousness when the officers arrived, had lacerations to his face and was bleeding, Saylor added.

In her e-mail Saturday evening, Montes wrote, "The Florida Highway Patrol will not address any other statements that have been circulating throughout this incident, unless those statements were made specifically by this agency."

Earlier, Montes told the Associated Press that investigators were "trying not to get on the rumor mill," amid various published reports on the accident not independently confirmed by ABC News.

News of Tiger Woods Accident Rocks Golfing World

Reports of the accident put the golfing world on edge. The Highway Patrol put out a release Friday afternoon saying, "Injuries: Serious." It said Woods was taken to Health Central Hospital in Ococee, Fla. But a spokesman for the highway patrol later said its reports always classify people's conditions as serious if they are taken to a hospital.

Woods' publicist, Glenn Greenspan, released a statement later Friday afternoon: "Tiger Woods was in a minor car accident outside his home last night. He was admitted, treated and released today in good condition.''

The hospital, through Greenspan, later put out a similar version of the one-line release.

"There's no bigger name in sports than Tiger Woods and there are few names on earth bigger than Tiger Woods," Brennan told ABCNews.com. "News like this hits and it reverberates like an earthquake in the world of sports."

Police said charges Friday charges were "pending." They provided no details beyond their initial release.

Investigators said alcohol was not involved, but they did not know what caused the crash. The Associated Press reported that the vehicle's airbags did not deploy.

Officials said Woods pulled out of the driveway at his residence and began to drive on Deacon Circle when he struck the hydrant.

Woods reportedly owns a home in an exclusive subdivision called Isleworth, near Orlando. Orange County property records indicate his home is valued at $2.4 million.

Tiger Woods Won 14 Major Tournaments

Currently ranked the number-one golfer in the world, Woods was the highest paid professional athlete in 2008. He earned an estimated $110 million from winnings and endorsements.

Woods had just won the Australian Masters over the weekend of Nov. 15 after he closed with a four-under-par 68, beating Greg Chalmers by two shots, according to the Tiger Woods Foundation.

It was Woods' seventh victory worldwide in 2009 and his first in Australia.

Woods has been one of golf's great success stories. His personal biography says he has won 93 tournaments, 71 of them on the PGA Tour. He won the Masters Tournament four times, the PGA Championship four times, and three Open Championships.

No other active golfer has as many career victories. No other golfer has won as much money.

Woods learned to play golf as a child and his father Earl served as his mentor and teacher.

Woods studied at Stanford University, and won a number of amateur U.S. golf titles before turning professional in 1996. He shot to fame after winning the Masters Tournament at Augusta in 1997 with a record score of 270. At the age of 21, he was the youngest golfer ever to earn the title.

He is the only child of an African-American Army-officer father and a Thai mother. Born Eldrick Tont Woods, according to Biography.com, he was called "Tiger" by his father in honor of a fellow soldier.

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