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Woods' silence over accident provokes questions

Since his early morning accident two days ago, golfing great Tiger Woods has remained silent against a backdrop of growing speculation about the circumstances of the mishap.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2009 14:34 IST

Since his early morning accident two days ago, golfing great Tiger Woods has remained silent against a backdrop of growing speculation about the circumstances of the mishap.

Woods Saturday postponed for another day a request by Florida police to interview him about the one-car accident, according to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

Meanwhile, questions about what the world's greatest golfer was doing as he left his Isleworth mansion in his Cadillac SUV about 2 am on Friday were growing louder and more insistent.

"Tiger now needs to face questions," says the headline of a column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Woods is silent as spin takes on life of its own," read a New York Times headline.

In fact, Woods has officially released only 32 words on the incident, through a joint statement from his spokesman and the Health Central Hospital Friday that it had been a minor accident; that Woods was treated and released and was in "good condition".

In fact, details emerging since then indicate Woods was unconscious during or after the accident, according to the Sentinel, which cited local officials.

According to them, the golfer's wife, Elin Nordegren Woods, came rushing out of the house, possibly with a golf club, when she heard his car crash against the fire hydrant and tree. She smashed open the back window of his wrecked Escalade to pull him out of the car and lay him on the ground.

Woods, 33, was unconscious for about six minutes, according to a call report compiled by the Orange County Sheriff's Office reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

His wife had "supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground," Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor told reporters Friday night. "He was in and out of consciousness when my guys got there."

Saylor dismissed questions about reports of an argument between Woods and his wife. The Florida Highway Patrol believes alcohol was not a factor.

"Right now we believe this is a traffic crash. The Sentinel quoted patrol spokesman Sgt Kim Montes we don't believe it is a domestic issue," as saying.

But the questions swirling around the accident put an unaccustomed spotlight on the world's highest paid sportsman and one of its most popular athletes - a normally circumspect figure who keeps personal issues close to his chest.

Woods has had a phenomenal career, earning more than 1 billion dollars in his rapid 13-year rise, commanding huge fees for sports endorsements and revolutionizing sports marketing. He receives multimillion-dollar fees for putting his signature on new golf courses and runs a world foundation aimed at getting younger, disadvantaged people out on the greens.

"He became a rare creature - one of the most famous people on Earth, without a whiff of scandal in his wake," Ron Kroichick wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Woods has had a tendency to lose his temper on the course, but those incidents are counterbalanced by his new family life, with every public appearance with wife and two young children - aged 2 and nine months - making a photo splash.

"This sweet picture now must give way to Woods facing that avalanche of questions," Kroichick wrote. The worst consequence of his coming clean would be discovering that "he's human, after all".

From the New York Times, Woods got the advice that every hour that passes without word from the champion golfer "may prove damaging to his image by filling an online rumor mill with conjecture, opinion and rumor". The writers quoted image managers for athletes and celebrities.

As if on cue, the celebrity gossip site TMZ noted a recent scandal sheet report about an alleged affair of Woods, and said that Elin had moved him in violation of every standard operating procedure after an accident.

Was it possible, TMZ wrote, that wife Elin was "mad enough to hit a car with a golf club?"