Tiger in the Tank
To maintain control, Tiger Woods opted to hunker down until the brouhaha blew over. The accident happened on a private road within his gated community, and the only one hurt was the driver. Woods refused to talk to police, and on Nov. 29 put a statement out on his Web site, which said in part:
I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore. This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.
This should have been his entire statement. However in the middle of his plea for privacy, he added this sentence:
This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.
This was throwing down the gauntlet. For the tabloids and gossip media, here was the invitation to a Tiger hunt on a scale not seen since the heyday of the Raj.
Two days later, claiming injuries, Woods pulled out of his own golf tournament—the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament, scheduled for that weekend in California, the beneficiary being the Tiger Woods Foundation.
The Bimbo Eruption
Within a day, the National Enquirer broke the story of Woods’ alleged philandering with an after-hours club hostess named Rachel Uchitel. This was followed by a string of women—14 at last count—confessing to liaisons with Woods in cars, hotels, the Woods’ marital bed when his wife was out of town and at tournament venues all over the world.
Suddenly this bevy of birdies was all over the magazines, supermarket tabs and gossip TV. Some wanted to sell their stories. Others allegedly wanted millions for their silence. Still others released voice mail, Tiger’s sex texts and commentary on his sexual performance. Most seemed to bask in their 15 minutes of fame.