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The only criticism Woods has faced was not taking a stronger stand on social issues, such as the all-male membership at Augusta National, not playing more tournaments, or for cursing and throwing a club during competition.
But in all those cases, it was short-lived.
Questions about his car crash, however, will linger as long as Woods keeps it a mystery. He has dealt with a sporting media most of his life. Now he steps into the realm of celebrity media, which is far more relentless.
Speculation on what really happened that night outside -- or inside -- his home grows each day. Woods went 13 hours before confirming he was in a "minor accident," then two more days before giving his side of the story Sunday.
He said it was his fault, an embarrassing accident, that he's not perfect, and that any innuendoes were false and malicious. That hardly will be enough to keep the media satisfied.
Woods turned down a request by state troopers to talk three days in a row. Because it is only a traffic accident, he is not required by law to give a statement.
"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," Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, said in an e-mail.
But that small camp of TV trucks parked outside the gates at Isleworth might not be leaving any time soon. Woods still is scheduled to compete in his Chevron World Challenge this week in Thousand Oaks, Calif. As of Sunday night, no one had withdrawn.
Would it not be wise to face the media, no matter how embarrassing, and move on? It seemed to have worked for David Letterman, who even made a few jokes at his expense.
That's simply not his style. Woods can be self-deprecating, but only in the best of times. If he chooses not to show this week in California, he could easily go into hiding for the next two months. Hardly anyone saw him in public for four months after his knee surgery last year.
That won't make the story go away. For all the records he is chasing inside the ropes, this might prove to be his greatest challenge.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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