Tiger Woods injured slightly in car accident after reported argument with wife

Tiger Woods was injured early Friday when he lost control of his SUV outside his Florida mansion, and a local police chief said Woods' wife used a golf club to smash out the back window to help get him out.

The world's No. 1 golfer was treated and released from a hospital in good condition, his spokesman said. The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods' vehicle hit a fire hydrant and a tree in his neighbor's yard after he pulled out of his driveway at 2:25 a.m.

Windermere police Chief Daniel Saylor said officers found Woods, 33, lying in the street with his wife, Elin Nordegren, hovering over him.

She told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and "came out and broke the back window with a golf club," he said. "She supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground. He was in and out of consciousness when my guys got there."

The TMZ Web site, however, said it learned from several law enforcement sources that the accident came right after an argument with Nordegren.

According to TMZ, Nordegren told officers about the argument at the scene of the accident, and Woods gave the same story to authorities at the hospital.

Saylor said Woods had lacerations to his upper and lower lips, and blood in his mouth; officers treated Woods for about 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods was alone in his 2009 Cadillac when he pulled out of his driveway from his mansion at Isleworth, a gated waterfront community just outside Orlando.

The Highway Patrol reported Woods' injuries as serious, although Woods' spokesman Glenn Greenspan issued a statement that Woods was treated and released.

The patrol said alcohol was not involved, although the accident remains under investigation and charges could be filed.

Left unanswered was where Woods was going at that hour. Greenspan and agent Mark Steinberg said there would be no comment beyond the short statement of the accident posted on Woods' Web site.

Saylor said his responding officers did not hear anything about an argument between Woods and his wife.

"Right now we believe this is a traffic crash. We don't believe it is a domestic issue," patrol spokesman Sgt. Kim Montes said.

Woods, coming off a two-week trip to China and Australia earlier this month, is host of the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif., which starts Thursday. He is scheduled to have his news conference Tuesday afternoon at Sherwood Country Club. Steinberg said he did not know if Woods planned to play next week.

The Florida Highway Patrol said tapes of the 911 call won't be released until they can be reviewed, probably Monday at the earliest.

The accident report was not released until nearly 12 hours after Woods was injured. Montes said the accident did not meet the criteria of a serious crash, and the patrol only put out a news release because of inquiries from local media.

Montes said the patrol reports injuries as serious if they require more than minor medical attention. Air bags in the SUV did not deploy.

Two troopers tried to talk to Woods on Friday evening, but his wife said he was sleeping and they agreed to come back today, Montes said.

She said charges could be filed if there was a clear traffic violation, although troopers still do not know what caused Woods' SUV to hit the hydrant and tree.

Woods rarely faces such private scrutiny, even as perhaps the most famous active athlete in the world.

He usually makes news only because of what he can do with a golf club. Few other athletes have managed to keep their private lives so guarded, or have a circle of friends so airtight when it comes to life off the course.

His wife was awarded a $183,250 settlement and an apology from an Irish magazine that published a fake nude photo of her, and Woods received a $1.6 million settlement in a lawsuit against the builder of his yacht — named Privacy — for using his name and photos of the boat as promotional material.

Woods is approaching $100 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, and Forbes magazine reported that combined with endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design, he has become the first athlete to top $1 billion.

Woods' $2.4 million home is part of an exclusive subdivision near Orlando, a community set on an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and a chain of small lakes. The neighborhood, which is fortified with high brick walls and has its own security force, is home to CEOs and other sports stars such as the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal.

Woods, who has won 82 times around the world and 14 majors, attended the Stanford-Cal football game last Saturday, where he tossed the coin at the start of the game and was inducted into Stanford's sports Hall of Fame at halftime.

Tiger Woods injured slightly in car accident after reported argument with wife 11/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 11:23pm]

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