NBC’s ‘Today Show’ weighs in on Woods

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911 call: Tiger Woods accident

The 911 call made the morning of Tiger Woods’ car accident, as released by the Florida Highway Patrol.

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ORLANDO, Fla. – With Tiger Woods’ Isleworth SUV accident not reported until mid-afternoon Friday, Monday marked the first opportunity for the network morning talk shows to jump in and discuss what has developed into a significant national news story.

Dan Abrams, NBC’s chief legal analyst, said it is Woods’ prerogative to not speak with the Florida Highway Patrol, and that the world’s No. 1 golfer is not being shown any special treatment in being allowed to keep his silence. Abrams said if there is any chance of a possible criminal investigation involving the accident, Woods and his wife, Elin, might be of the shared mindset they do not wish to assist in it.

The NBC story cited CNBC in reporting that Woods’ agent, IMG’s Mark Steinberg, said his client “believes he (Woods) has nothing more to tell authorities.” But Abrams went on to say that the statement Woods released on his Web site (tigerwoods.com) was so intentionally vague that it did more hurt than harm, certainly in the court of public opinion.

“I just think his statement isn’t helpful to him,” Abrams said. “I think we’re going to end up hearing more from Tiger Woods publicly. Why? Because it doesn’t help that he made these three appointments with authorities (FHP), or authorities at least thought they had three appointments, and they show up and are turned away again and again. That doesn’t help him.

“Not because it’s a legal obligation, but because it just doesn’t look good.”

Asked if he thought the whole situation had turned into a PR “disaster” for the Woods camp, Abrams said he thought it had.

Said Abrams, “He (Woods) followed up with a statement (on his Web site) that’s intentionally vague. Think about it: If what really happened here is that Tiger Woods got in his car and he just got in an accident and his wife rescued him, he’d say it, wouldn’t he? And then his position would be, ‘Look, I got in my car, I got in a little accident, my wife helped me out, and that was the end of it.’

“But he’s not saying that.”

Woods and his advisers are maintaining this matter is a private one, and would like people to respect that. The reality is that he is Tiger Woods, the world’s most visible and well-known athlete. Nothing he does ever will go quietly into the night. That explains the cluster of TV trucks and cameras stationed outside the Isleworth gates through the weekend.

“When he has the endorsements he has, the type of public adulation he has, etc., there are going to be questions,” Abrams said. “People are going to say, ‘We want to know a little bit more.’ It’s his right to say, ‘You know what? I don’t want to talk about this.’ But again, if it was just an accident, and he literally just got in his car, had an accident and his wife rescued him, there’s not a lot of privacy to protect.”

The NBC report showed several pictures of Woods’ black Cadillac Escalade (crediting TMZ), its right front quarter panel sheered at the base of a large tree. Pictures showed the vehicle’s middle left passenger window was broken.

How would Abrams have advised Woods in this situation if in such a position?

“I’d have advised him not having made the statement that he made already,” Abrams said. “But now that he’s made that one, I think he needs to come clean a little bit more. I think he needs to talk a little more publicly about what happened.”

That opportunity will be there this week at Tiger’s Chevron event in California, where Woods is scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Neither the tournament’s staff nor IMG has yet to confirm that Woods will still be attending – even if he chooses not to play in the limited-field event because of his injuries.

So, will Woods go into more detail on what happened in his early-morning Friday accident? Considering how guarded he always has been involving life inside those Isleworth gates, don’t count on it.

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