Woods will face no criminal charges for crashing outside his Florida mansion but the world’s number one golfer has been issued with a careless driving citation, police said on Tuesday.
Woods must also pay a $164 fine and lose four points from his licence — a third of the total needed in a year to be suspended — but the Florida Highway Patrol investigation into Friday’s crash is now closed, police announced.
Spokeswoman Kim Montes said there was insufficient evidence for any greater charges and no claims of domestic violence were involved in the November 27
incident, which remained shrouded in mystery and speculation.
The patrol “is not pursuing criminal charges in this matter nor is there any testimony or evidence to support any charges of any kind other than careless driving,” Montes said.
Woods struck a fire hydrant and a tree when he lost control of his vehicle just outside his home around 2:25 am, far enough from the house to merit a traffic citation.
“The investigation has determined that Mr. Woods is at fault in the crash,” patrol major Cindy Williams said.
Woods did not provide information to police, something he was not required to do under Florida law, and has not revealed details surrounding the crash such as where he was going or why he lost control of the vehicle.
His silence fueled speculation surrounding media reports that Woods was in the vehicle to escape his wife Elin, a Swedish former model, after the two argued about a tabloid newspaper story that he had an affair with New York night club hostess Rachel Uchitel.
Rumours proliferated suggesting that Elin confronted him over Uchitel and chased him with a golf club, smashing in the rear windows of the car as he tried to flee, causing him to lose control.
Woods issued a statement on his website on Sunday hitting out at the “unfounded and malicious rumors”, but providing no further explanation for the crash.
Bill Sharpe, an attorney for Woods’ neighbour Linda Adams and her family, said on Tuesday that the golfer’s injuries looked to be from a car accident rather than a domestic dispute.
“The scratches on his face were consistent with someone who maybe was in a minor car accident and hit his head on the windshield,” Sharpe said.
“None of his injuries looked like he was beat up by his wife.”
Sharpe said Adams found Elin kneeling beside Woods and upset over his injuries, saying she asked them to call police and medical personnel.
“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.”
Both Woods and Uchitel have denied the tabloid press reports.
“It’s the most ridiculous story. It’s like they are asking me to comment if there are aliens on Earth,” Uchitel told the New York Post in an interview published on Tuesday.
But rumours continued to unfold around Woods as his mansion became a bunker,
and not the type an errant golf shot might find.
Another report on Tuesday in US Magazine quoted a 24-year-old Los Angeles waitress saying she and Woods had a 31-month-long affair beginning in April, 2007, and that she had voice mails and more than 300 text messages as proof.
The magazine’s website said that on Wednesday it would provide access to a Woods voice mail from the day the Uchitel report came out in which Woods suggests that Elin might suspect he was having an affair.
Woods and Elin have been married for five years and have two children, daughter Sam Alexis, born in 2007, and son Charlie Axel, born in February.
While the media storm is unlikely to die down soon, the end of the police probe will bring some respite to the 14-time major champion, who is not due to play again and have to face the hordes of reporters until 2010.
Uchitel, 33, told the Post she had met Tiger twice and only in her professional capacity as VIP services director at a New York club. She denied reports that she had met with Woods last month when both were in Australia.
“Tiger and I are not friends,” she told the Post.