While you were busy watching football, eating dry turkey, and flashing tense, frozen smiles at your annoying relatives, Tiger Woods was getting beaten senseless by his wife. Here's a round-up of what we know in case you were otherwise engaged.
At 2:25 a.m. on Friday morning—in other words, late on Thanksgiving night—one of Woods' neighbors in Windermere, Fla., called 911 to report that Woods had crashed into a tree in front of his house and was lying on the ground outside his Cadillac Escalade. He was taken to a local hospital in "serious condition" with facial lacerations and released later that day. The Florida Highway Patrol didn't release details about the accident until Friday afternoon, twelve hours after it happened, and the initial report from Windermere police officers was that Woods was drifting in and out of consciousness when they arrived on the scene. Windermere's police chief told the Orlando Sentinel that Woods' wife Elin had heroically used a golf club to break out the rear windows of Woods' SUV and rescued him from the vehicle; when they arrived, the Sentinel reported, she was "hovering" over her husband, "frantic and upset."
Within hours of the story breaking on Friday, the truth began to emerge: According to TMZ and RadarOnline, Tiger and Elin had been arguing before the crash, and she scratched his face up before he attempted to flee in his car, telling her, "You've ruined our Thanksgiving! Are you happy now?" Elin chased after him swinging a golf club, and managed to bash out the SUV's back windows as he drove away. Woods "got distracted" by the attack and ran into a fire hydrant and then a tree, hitting them at less than 33 mph, to judge by the fact that the car's airbags didn't activate. There was no blood on the steering wheel, TMZ reported, making it unlikely that Woods' injuries were sustained during the crash. According to TMZ, Woods told a friend that he wasn't drunk at the time, but had been taking painkillers.
So why would Elgin attack her husband on Thanksgiving night? Probably because last week, the National Enquirer reported that Woods had been having an affair with Rachel Uchitel, a New York City nightclub promoter and self-described celebrity-dater. The Enquirer story claimed that Uchitel had told a friend, "I don't care about his wife! We're in love," and that the pair were "constantly sexting." TMZ says Tiger had told a friend on Friday, before the accident, that Elin had "gone ghetto" over the allegations, and that he had to "run to Zales to get a 'Kobe Special'"—a diamond ring—to mollify her. It apparently didn't work.
For her part, Uchitel has denied the Enquirer's allegations, telling the New York Post, "this is nothing to do with me. We have never had an affair, and the claims we did are completely false." She's reportedly retained celebrity lawyer and horrible person Gloria Allred and is considering a defamation claim against the Enquirer.
What does Tiger say about all this? Not much. In a statement released yesterday, he said,
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.
The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.
The Florida Highway Patrol has attempted to interview Tiger and his wife about the accident three times, and been turned away each time. And Tiger's lawyer is now saying that, under Florida law, they don't have to talk to the cops, and won't:
We have been informed by the Florida Highway Patrol that further discussion with them is both voluntary and optional. Although Tiger realizes that there is a great deal of public curiosity, it has been conveyed to FHP that he simply has nothing more to add and wishes to protect the privacy of his family.
But that's not going to cut it: According to TMZ, the Florida Highway Patrol is seeking a warrant to gain access to medical records from Tiger's hospitalization to find out if his injuries are consistent with a car accident or assault. If it's the latter, the next step could be charging Elin with domestic violence. TMZ also says the Woods home is equipped with security cameras, and Florida authorities want to see what's on the tapes.
Long story short, the Woodses spent their Thanksgiving like most families do: Trapped in a sickeningly familiar cycle of recrimination, betrayal, lies, and poor decision-making. We can't wait for Christmas.