Woods delays police questioning over crash

Tiger Woods was facing police questions today after officers investigating the champion golfer's mysterious early morning car crash were denied an interview opportunity for the second day in a row.

Florida Highway Patrol officers had been preparing to quiz the world number one yesterday about how he came to crash his car into a fire hydrant and tree outside his luxury home in Isleworth, Florida.

A bloodied Woods, 33, was found in the early hours of Friday lying in the road with wife Elin Nordegren, who police said used a golf club to smash out the back window and help get the golfer out.

He was taken to Health Central Hospital in nearby Ocoee where he was "admitted, treated and released in good condition" later that day, a joint statement by his office and the hospital said.

State troopers wanted to hear the 14-time Major winner's version of events yesterday, said police spokesman Sgt Kim Montes, but last night the officer issued a statement saying the planned interview had not taken place.

The delay came as the authorities prepared to release the tape of the emergency 911 call made after the accident.

Sgt Montes said: "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.

"This announcement came from his agent. Troopers were asked to return (today)."

Earlier yesterday, Sgt Montes had stressed Woods was not being treated differently to other drivers in similar situations having failed to meet troopers visiting his home on Friday.

"A couple of troopers were sent to the hospital to talk to Mr Woods on Friday to get his side of what happened as the driver of the vehicle," she said.

"He had already been discharged so we went by the house and Mrs Woods invited us in and when she went to go back, Tiger was sleeping.

"So we agreed to come back (yesterday), though that's not preferential treatment. We've done that on other crashes."

Sgt Montes said troopers had been due to return to the golfer's house shortly after 8pm GMT yesterday to "give Mr Woods an opportunity to tell us what happened".

She added that the troopers were specifically interested in the particulars of the accident.

"There's a lot of rumours and scenarios that are being thrown out there about all kinds of different things that may have happened but right now the only evidence that we have is that this is just a traffic crash.

"If our investigation takes us in a different direction then we'll let the media know. We will investigate every part of this and that's just a normal part of our investigation to help us figure out why he lost control and struck the fire hydrant and the tree."

Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor said Woods' wife used a golf club to smash out the car's window and helped to get the golfer out of the car following the crash.

Ms Nordegren told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and came outside, he said.

The golfer, who has been married for five years and has two young children, has recently been the subject of tabloid allegations about his private life.

Asked about reports the couple had been arguing in the hours leading up to the crash, police said they were treating the incident as a traffic accident and not a domestic issue.

Sgt Montes said investigators had not yet reviewed the tape of the emergency 911 call made after the accident but the content would be released once those reviews had taken place.

The crash happened just yards outside his £1.5 million home in the gated waterfront community.

He pulled out of his driveway, struck a fire hydrant, and then drove into a tree at about 2.25am local time (7.25am GMT) yesterday, police said.

The FHP report read: "Driver had just pulled out of the driveway at his residence... As V1 began to drive on Deacon Circle, V1 struck a fire hydrant. The front of V1 then struck a tree. The driver was transported to Health Central Hospital. The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending."

The officer used Woods' full name, Eldrick Tiger Woods, and originally noted that his injuries were "serious", alcohol was not a factor and that it was unknown whether Woods had been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Hundreds of fans posted messages on Woods' website, telling him to get well soon and expressing their hopes for a speedy return to the golf course.

According to the website, Woods is due to start the campaign for his fifth Chevron World Challenge title on Tuesday.

Woods, the tournament's host, won the event in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2007 but missed last year's tournament while recovering from knee surgery.

"We do not know if Tiger is playing; we are anticipating a great week of competition," said Greg McLaughlin, the tournament director and president of his foundation.

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