Woods wins privacy fight as FHP drops probe

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods was widely panned for his decision not to speak – except for a vague statement on his Web site – in the wake of his car accident early Nov. 27 near his Isleworth home.

His evasiveness, however, didn’t produce bad results for him. In fact, if Woods had worried that serious charges might surface against him or his wife, the outcome could not have been better.

After four days of wild speculation, Woods will be charged with nothing more than careless driving, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The agency held a news conference Dec. 1 at its Troop D office here, adding that the Woods case is closed.

That citation comes with a $164 fine and four points on Woods’ license. The FHP said there was insufficient evidence to support any other charges. Woods had been treated and released from a local hospital.

Woods has not responded to the careless-driving charge, but the FHP announcement is a victory for the privacy of the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer.

Woods still is faced with salacious reports about his personal life in such outlets as The National Enquirer and TMZ.com. He’ll likely never answer those allegations.

But with the crash investigation closed, we’re not likely to learn why Woods was leaving his mansion at 2:25 a.m. that Friday, nor the answer to a lot of other questions that arose from his crash into a fire hydrant and then into a neighbor’s tree.

If pressed for answers, Woods can lean on the official record and simply say that he drove carelessly. In a statement issued Sunday, he accepted responsibility for the accident. Citing his injuries, he pulled out of this week’s Chevron World Challenge, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The official record trumps rumors every time, which is why Woods can consider this to be another victory.

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