From the Tee Box: It's Tiger "Wood"

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst IDecember 4, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15:  Tiger Woods of the USA tees off on the 12th hole during the final round of the 2009 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath Golf Club on November 15, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Tiger Woods' mysterious car accident last weekend, and the subsequent speculation, was an embarrassing situation in an otherwise sterling career. Will the truth of the matter ever emerge, and if so, will Woods' reputation be tarnished?

The more pressing question here is, "Where in the heck was Steve Williams when this all went down?" Woods obviously could have used a second pair of eyes, and Williams is famous for his ability to read driveways just as well as greens.

Now, the true story will probably never be heard, at least from the mouth of Woods, so, it's up to the public, and, to piece together the various accounts and rumors into a believable, and juicy tale.

What is known is that early last Friday, Woods wrecked his Cadillac SUV just outside the driveway of his Isleworth home in Florida, hitting a fire hydrant and a tree in the process. That's not the least bit surprising—Woods' "driving" has always led to trouble.

Then, according to Woods, his wife, Elin Nordegren "rescued" him by breaking out the back window of the car with a golf club and pulling Woods out. This act, of course, is now known as the Nordegren "Open."

Is there more to the incident that just a minor car accident? Unless you're a triple-digit handicap in the IQ department, then it's easy to see some, and more likely many, facts are being withheld. Was there a domestic dispute preceding the accident? If so, did it stem from allegations that Woods had an extramarital affair, as reported by the National Enquirer ? If that's so, was Nordegren simply trying to assess Woods a "stroke" penalty?

According to Woods, the accident was just that, an accident, and no one should read any further into it. On Tuesday, Woods was charged with a traffic violation, and fined $164. But the circumstances surrounding the accident would seem to indicate that there's much more to it.

A 2:30 AM accident, in the driveway, not involving alcohol? That statement is fishy in itself, unless John Daly were somehow involved.

And why did Nordegren smash the windows of the vehicle to "free" Woods instead of just using the doors? Probably because Tiger didn't want to come out. Nothing is worse than the wrath of a woman scorned except for the wrath of a woman scorned who's holding a golf club .

Witnesses at the scene say Woods had scratches on his face. Maybe Nordegren was utilizing good golfing etiquette and wanted simply to replace her divots. Unlike her husband, she's a "scratch" golfer. If Nordegren was, in fact, wielding the club as a weapon, then she undoubtedly boasted to Tiger of her "flexible shaft."

The "woman scorned" scenario seems to be the most logical. Recently, two other women have come forward and claim they had relationships with Woods, and Woods hasn't denied either. So, it seems that Woods' caddy wasn't the only one "on the bag."

In fact, Woods apologized for his transgressions, which is a plural word. There's even an audio recording of Woods calling one of his mistresses and politely asking her to delete a phone number, for fear that Nordegren may be calling. This is just another example of Woods' uncanny scrambling ability.

As Tiger's "transgressions" come forward, it's become clear that all the ladies in Woods' life are gorgeous, and suddenly not too shy about revealing the details of their personal lives. As Woods is finding out, being "loose lipped" isn't always a good thing. In his defense, though, what golfer hasn't been tempted to switch to a "newer model" on occasion?

And there will probably be more mistresses coming forward to bask in their fleeting moment of fame. This is all like a series of bad shots for Woods—one minute, he's "laying three"; the next, 'he's "laying four." And so on.

So, should we respect Woods' pleas for privacy, or should we expect a moral obligation from him to come clean? Of course, we can't expect him to come clean—professional athletes have yet to learn their lessons in that respect. Just ask Mark McGwire or Roger Clemens. But a full confession would be in Woods' best interest.

It's best the public knows all the details, before a sex tape emerges, or before Jose Canseco's next book is published. Known for his "backspin," Woods and his army of public relations soldiers, should put a positive spin on the issue.

How, you may ask? Here's how. With these 26 words, directly out of Woods' mouth: "If I can be this good of a golfer while juggling woman all over the globe, just think how good I'll be on a short leash." With Nordegren, clutching a golf club, by his side when he says this, would there be any doubt that Woods would be on the straight and narrow?

An appearance on Larry King Live , and a stint on Oprah's coach, plus an adorable photo spread of Woods, Nordegren, and the kids in People magazine, and Tiger will seem downright virginal. Follow that up with a dominating win at the Masters, and a tearful winner's speech, flanked by the wife and kids, and Tiger will look so clean that the gossip-mongers will go looking for dirt on Ben Crenshaw.

Woods obviously built his near-unblemished reputation by hiding the truth, and taking the necessary precautions to ensure that his secret affairs remained as such. Now, he can only repair that reputation by telling all and asking, not begging, for forgiveness, from his fans.

In all honesty, his fans probably could care less about an apology. What matters to them is that Woods' game doesn't suffer.

The only apology mandatory is to Nordegren. It's not something that's easily forgiven, and if she decides to forgive, her dignity would then have to be questioned. But if there's a price on her dignity, it will be revealed in the details of a revamped prenuptial agreement.

It's not as if Tiger made one simple mistake; he made several, and to keep it all "hush-hush," he surely had to pay out a substantial amount of "hush" money. If Woods can emerge from this with his reputation fully intact, then it would truly be the greatest "escape" of his career.