Not out of the woods
Tiger apologizes, but more details continue to emerge
Without admitting much of anything, Tiger Woods apologized yesterday, saying he had let his family down with “transgressions’’ he regrets “with all of my heart,’’ and that he plans to deal with his personal life out of the public eye. Woods’s mea culpa came amid reports that he’d had multiple affairs with women, including a Las Vegas cocktail waitress who claims she carried on a 31-month affair with the world’s No. 1 golfer - a period during which his wife gave birth to their second child.
“I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves,’’ Woods said on his website. “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.’’
Woods did not confirm or deny any of the alleged relationships, saying only “I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves.’’
The statement came just a few hours after Us Weekly magazine posted on its website what it said was a voice mail Woods left on the phone of the cocktail waitress, Jaimee Grubbs. In the voice mail - provided to the magazine by Grubbs - a man believed to be Woods and who begins the message by saying, “Hey, it’s Tiger,’’ asks Grubbs to remove her name from her phone: “My wife went through my phone. And, uh, may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, um, and what do you call it just have it as a number on the voice mail, just have it as your telephone number. That’s it, OK. You gotta do this for me. Huge. Quickly. All right. Bye.’’
The message was allegedly left Nov. 24, three days before Woods crashed his black Cadillac Escalade outside his mansion in Windermere, Fla., at 2:25 a.m. Woods’s virtual silence until yesterday had fueled speculation that the accident, which briefly landed Woods in the hospital, followed a heated argument between Tiger and his wife of five years, Elin Nordegren, over the alleged affairs. (The celebrity website, TMZ.com, reported yesterday that Nordegren used a sand wedge to smash the windows of her husband’s car on the night of the accident.)
Woods declined to meet with the Florida Highway Patrol about the accident - he was charged with careless driving and fined $164 - and has since communicated only on his website.
“Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means,’’ Woods said on the site yesterday. “For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives.’’
Woods had encouraging words for his wife yesterday, saying “The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.’’ The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the links legend’s spouse may be getting paid a seven-figure amount to stand by her man. In addition, according to the paper, the couple has already begun “intense marriage counseling’’ and the mother of Tiger’s two kids is demanding a complete rewrite of the couple’s prenup to make it more financially attractive for her to stick with Woods.
Grubbs, who appears on the VH1 reality show “Tool Academy,’’ told Us Weekly she had several torrid trysts with Woods over many months. “I loved how we got along,’’ she said, “but I knew, in the back of my mind, there could never be just us. There would always be the wife, or somebody else.’’ The National Enquirer has reported that Woods also had an affair with New York party promoter Rachel Uchitel - a claim she emphatically denies - and Las Vegas club manager Kalika Moquin, who has told Life & Style magazine “it’s not appropriate for me to comment one way or the other.’’
Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, who along with his wife, Mia, introduced Nordegren to Tiger, ripped Woods yesterday. Parnevik told the Golf Channel that he feels badly for Elin. “We probably thought [Woods] was a better guy than he is,’’ he said. “I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of the 3-iron.’’
Meanwhile, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose own private life has become tabloid fodder since he broke up with his pregnant girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan, and took up with and eventually married supermodel Gisele Bundchen (now pregnant herself), was asked about Tiger’s tribulations yesterday.
“Everyone’s situation is different,’’ said Brady. “Things happen in people’s lives. I’ll just wish everybody the best. Everybody needs to find their own way, find their own happiness. We’re all . . .’’ Brady paused before continuing: “I think everybody in this room has some degree of notoriety. You have to understand what comes along with that and try to make the best decisions you can.’’