MIAMI (Reuters) - The ambulance crew that took golfer Tiger Woods from the scene of his fateful car crash last year did not let his wife ride with him because they said the incident was a case of domestic violence, according to Florida police records cited by a local newspaper on Friday.
The new information from Florida Highway Patrol records, quoted by the Orlando Sentinel, once again raised the possibility of domestic violence on November 27 between Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren, although Woods has repeatedly denied this.
The bizarre early morning accident, in which Woods hit a hedge, fire hydrant and tree while leaving his luxury mansion, triggered revelations of repeated affairs by the world’s No. 1 golfer, who bowed out of the game.
Last month, in his first public appearance since his spectacular fall from grace which rocked his multimillion-dollar sponsors, Woods apologized to family and fans for cheating on his wife, and said he was undergoing therapy.
But he denied there had been any physical violence between him and his wife. “Elin never hit me that night or any other night,” he said. “There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever.”
The Orlando Sentinel said new Florida Highway Patrol records, released following a December 16 public records request by the newspaper, showed that when Nordegren tried to ride in the ambulance to the hospital with her hurt husband after the crash, the crew would not let her, saying this was a case of domestic violence.
The records said Nordegren told officers that after the crash, she used a golf club to break the rear windows of her husband’s black SUV, and helped him out. An officer at the scene saw Woods’ lower lip was cut, the police records said.
The officer asked Nordegren “if he had been drinking and she stated no, that he had taken his medication earlier, but did not provide a time. The medication was Vicodin,” the police report said. She went back into the house and came back with two small bottles of the pain medicine, the records said.
The Orlando Sentinel repeated earlier police reports that the Florida Highway Patrol had asked the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office to subpoena Woods’ hospital blood test records, but an assistant state attorney rejected the request on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence.
Several days after the crash, the Florida Highway Patrol ticketed Woods for careless driving and he paid a small fine.
At his carefully scripted appearance last month, a somber Woods said he planned to return to golf “one day”, but didn’t know when. “I don’t rule out that it will be this year.”
There has been intense media speculation that the 34-year-old American, whose dominance on the golf course put him in the pantheon of all-time sporting greats since he turned professional in 1996, could make a return at events in Florida later this month, or at the U.S. Masters in Augusta, Georgia, at the beginning of April.
The Masters is the blockbuster golf event for sponsors and worldwide television audiences.
Woods’ absence from events at which he usually competes generally drives down television ratings by 50 percent.
Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; editing by Mohammad Zargham