- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Investigators have concluded their investigation into the vehicle accident involving professional golfer Tiger Woods by issuing him a $164 ticket, the Florida Highway Patrol said Tuesday.

The ticket was issued for careless driving. If Woods admits to the offense or is found guilty, he also would have four points added to his driving record.

“Mr. Woods is at fault,” Maj. Cindy Williams said during a brief afternoon press conference. “Every person is required to operate a vehicle in a careful and prudent manner.”

Woods, the world’s top golfer, crashed his 2009 Cadillac Escalade at 2:25 a.m. Friday outside his central Florida home. He backed into a fire hydrant, then hit a neighbor’s tree, according to the original FHP accident report.

Police officials also said Tuesday that they consulted with state lawyers and will not subpoena medical records and will not pursue a criminal investigation.

“At this time, the Florida Highway Patrol has concluded its investigation into the matter,” Maj. Williams said.

Earlier Tuesday, a lawyer for the neighbor who dialed 911 said Woods did not appear to be driving under the influence and showed no signs of having been in a fight.

Woods’ injuries were “consistent with a car wreck and inconsistent with him being beat up,” the lawyer, Bill Sharpe, said. “The scratches on his face were consistent with someone who maybe was in a minor car accident and hit his head on the windshield… . None of his injuries looked like he was beat up by his wife.”

The initial accident report also stated alcohol was not involved.

State troopers tried three times to interview Woods after the accident. On Sunday, Woods’ attorney provided troopers with his client’s drivers license information, registration and proof of insurance as required by Florida law, said Sgt. Kim Montes, a FHP spokeswoman.

Sharpe said neighbor Linda Adams and her two adult sons went outside their home in the exclusive gated community of Isleworth, west of Orlando, after hearing the crash, and Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, asked them to call 911.

He said the neighbors found Nordegren kneeling beside her husband, upset about his injuries. Sharpe said Woods appeared woozy and that his wife was trying to console him. The Adamses wrapped Woods in a blanket and made sure he didn’t move.

The accident report also stated the vehicle’s air bags did not deploy.

Nordegren told Windermere town police she used a golf club to smash the back windows to help him out.

Tabloid speculation has focused on whether Woods and his wife were fighting before the accident. The crash came two days after the National Enquirer published a story alleging that Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess and that they recently were together in Melbourne, Australia, where Woods competed in the Australian Masters.

The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woods when contacted by the Associated Press.

Sharpe said the Adams family did not see the crash and did not see Woods’ wife with a golf club.

“One thing we want to make clear is that Mrs. Woods’ attitude was consistent with her being concerned about her injured husband,” Sharpe said. “Mrs. Woods was trying to help him. Mrs. Woods was worried about her husband. She was concerned.”

Sharpe says the Adams family hired him to get out the message that they’ve told investigators everything they know about the crash and aren’t hiding anything.

Woods withdrew Monday from his own golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, citing injuries from the crash.

By skipping the tournament, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Woods will escape the TV cameras and a horde of media seeking more details. The tournament 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.

When healthy, he has made his season debut at Torrey Pines every year since 2006. The San Diego Invitational this year is scheduled the week of Jan. 25. That could mean Woods avoids the media for 10 weeks.

This story is based in part of wire service reports.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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