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Woods declines to speak to police for third time

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By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 30, 2009

In his first public statement about the early morning car accident in which he drove into a neighbor's tree, Tiger Woods on Sunday took responsibility for Friday's accident and called it "embarrassing." But the world-renowned golfer declined for the third straight day to speak with Florida Highway Patrol troopers, who were turned away at the door of his mansion by a high-profile criminal-defense lawyer who had no previous public association with Woods.

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In a statement posted on his Web site, Woods blamed himself for driving his black 2009 Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and tree just outside of his driveway at 2:25 a.m. Friday and said his wife, Elin Nordegren, acted "courageously" to help him. He declined, however, to provide further details, calling the incident a "private matter."

Woods also refused to appear for a scheduled interview with two troopers at his $2.4 million estate in one of Orlando's most exclusive suburbs. Mark NeJame, a noted Orlando attorney, answered the door and informed the troopers that the interview was canceled, according to Florida Highway Patrol public affairs officer Kim Montes.

Montes said in an e-mailed statement that the investigation into the accident that left Woods with cuts on both lips, bleeding from the mouth and briefly unconscious was continuing and that charges were pending.

Woods's reticence to discuss the accident with authorities has served to increase the mystery surrounding it. When troopers tried to interview Woods on Friday, his wife told them he was sleeping. As the troopers were en route to his home Saturday, Woods's agent called Florida Highway Patrol to say Woods and his wife were unavailable, but would talk Sunday, Montes said.

Woods is scheduled to give a news conference Tuesday in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to preview his golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, and is slated to compete in the event next weekend. Tournament officials said Sunday they did not know if Woods's plans had changed.

In his statement, Woods said he still had cuts and bruising and felt sore. He also indirectly addressed rumors that have abounded given the accident's unusual circumstances and the odd hour at which it occurred.

"This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me," Woods said. "I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.

"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."

"The only person responsible for the accident is me. 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."

The rumors have stemmed largely from a National Enquirer story that appeared two days before the accident that claimed Woods had been seeing a New York City nightclub waitress. The woman has denied having a relationship with Woods to the Associated Press.

Little additional information could be gleaned from the 911 call from one of Woods's neighbors on the night of the accident. In the call, released Sunday by the Florida Highway Patrol, an unnerved but calm man tells dispatchers:


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