Fine, points on license for Woods over SUV crash
ORLANDO, Fla. – All Tiger Woods has to do is pay a $164 fine – less than a round of golf at Torrey Pines – and his dealings with Florida authorities over his infamous car accident will be over.
What hasn’t ended is the public’s fascination with his private life, which may get more complicated. Us Weekly magazine, which hits newsstands Wednesday, features a cover story alleging that a Los Angeles cocktail waitress had a 31-month affair with the world’s No. 1 golfer – and that the proof was in 300 text messages.
Last week, just two days before Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree, the National Enquirer published a story alleging that Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess, and that they were recently together in Melbourne, where Woods competed in the Australian Masters.
The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woods when contacted by The Associated Press.
The world’s most famous athlete will be cited for careless driving outside his home in the exclusive gated community of Isleworth. It will cost him four points on his driver’s license, but he will not face criminal charges, the Florida Highway Patrol said Tuesday.
Woods, who was briefly unconscious after the crash, never spoke with investigators. Instead, he provided his driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance to investigators, 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.
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, declined comment on the fine and the Us Weekly story.
For days, tabloids and gossip Web sites have speculated about what happened leading up to the 2:25 a.m. wreck last Friday, including a possible dispute between Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren, who told Windermere police she used a golf club to smash the back windows to help him out.
“There are no claims of domestic violence by any individual,” Montes said.
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 the Adams family 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. The Adamses wrapped Woods in a blanket and made sure he didn’t move.
Woods withdrew Monday from his own golf tournament in California, citing injuries from the crash.
By skipping his tournament, Woods hoped 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.
For the time being, he is getting more media attention than when he won the 1997 Masters and set off the first wave of Tigermania.
According to Us Weekly, Jaimee Grubbs said she was 21 when she was approached by Woods at a Las Vegas nightclub, on April 13, 2007 – which would have been five days after he finished second at the Masters and two months before the birth of his first child.
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, Calif., seeking comment from Grubbs. A person who identified himself as “Cody,” who 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 contributed to this report along with AP sportswriter Bernie Wilson in San Diego.
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