Let’s start with full disclosure. As of 2:25 AM on the morning of Nov. 27, I was 3000 miles away from Windermere, FL. I don’t know Tiger Woods personally, and I’ve spent very little time in the presence of anybody who does. In addition, my accident re-creation expertise is limited to three or four dozen CSI episodes and a fender-bender during my senior year in college.
But what I do know is that what we’ve all been told about the Tiger Woods accident outside his home early Friday morning doesn't sound right.
We’ll begin with the facts, present the fiction, and possibly weave our way to some semblance of the truth.
The facts begin with Tiger Woods in his Escalade at 2:25 AM. He was heading out of his driveway at a speed no faster than 33 MPH (or the airbags would have automatically deployed) when he hit a fire hydrant and a tree in the adjoining yard.
We know that the back window of the Escalade was smashed out with a golf club at the hands of Woods’s wife, Elin. We know that when the police arrived, Elin was with a semi-coherent Woods who was taken to the hospital.
We know that Woods did enough damage to his Escalade for an estimate of $5000 to $8000 in repair costs. We know that enough damage was done to Woods's face to cause numerous lacerations. We know that enough damage was done to Woods's body that the first responders said he was in and out of consciousness during their 10 minutes of initial care.
The problems with the story begin with the idea that there was nothing suspicious about Woods leaving his home at 2:25 AM, just hours after a family Thanksgiving at their Orlando home.
The oddities continue with the idea that Elin would grab, of all ironic implements, a golf club to bash out the rear window and pull her husband to safety.
But why a golf club? And why the back window?
If Woods simply hit a tree head-on, why not smash a front, side, or backseat window, making it much easier to access Woods and pull him to safety without carrying or pulling his body nearly 12 feet from the boxed-in front seat, over the back seat, through the trunk space, and out to safety?
And Elin, all 110-pounds of her, lugged the 230-pound (estimated) Woods onto the grass beside the damaged vehicle herself? If Woods really was in and out of consciousness, there's very little chance that he could have offered any assistance in moving his 6'2" frame to his very slight model wife.
Of course, if she simply climbed in, opened a side door, and moved Woods outside of the vehicle, why enter from the back seat?
An alternate theory is that there was a domestic disturbance of some kind and that the facial lacerations were not suffered in the crash. That theory would be consistent with a course of action in which Woods got angry or emotional enough to bolt out to his Escalade, jump in, and begin to speed out of his driveway as his enraged wife smashed his rear window with a four-iron.
The alternate story continues with a shocked Woods whipping his head around to see what the loud smashing and gnashing sound was coming from his rear window. He proceeded to lose control of his vehicle and recklessly accelerate forward.
Before he knew it, the time of night, darkness, rage, shock, and emotion combined with the surprising speed of a multi-ton SUV caused a severe accident, personal injury, and a pretty good scandal.
If that theory is anywhere near the truth then more questions abound. What upset the couple to such an extreme? Where was Woods going? Do they really think that the American public will believe the story they've told to this point?
More seriously, when a police spokesman says that they are not sure if charges will be filed, do we start thinking of more dramatic, and tragically more common vices like adultery, alcohol, and domestic abuse?
The bottom line is that we don’t know. We weren’t there and the full truth may never come out. But until a better explanation hits the front page of the New York Times or ESPN.com we are left to wonder about the weak and potentially fictitious tale we’ve been told.
Tiger Woods is a golfer of epic abilities who is too often placed on a pedestal of hero worship. We ignore the club throwing (even when he hits someone in the gallery), we ignore the outrageous language he uses from tee to green (even when so many PGA patrons are within earshot), and we ignore the boorish behavior he occasionally exhibits on and off the course (even when it’s directed at the paying customers of the Tour).
If the tale of Tiger’s 2:25 AM escapade is innocent in nature and easily explained away I will be happy to re-anoint him as a semi-appropriate idol of millions.
But if the truth involves illegal activity, inappropriate behavior, a certain amount of violence, and at least a small web of lies, I hope that the story goes out as another cautionary tale of fame, fortune, and hero worship.
The one thing we found out for sure early Friday morning was that Tiger Woods is human. Just how human he is remains to be seen, heard, and explained.
Full disclosure has rarely ever sounded so intriguing.
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