Tiger Woods withdrew Monday from his own golf tournament, citing injuries from a near his Florida home. He said he would not compete again until next year.
Woods said in a statement on his Web site that his injuries prevented him from playing in the Chevron World Challenge. He was scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday for the tournament, which he hosts annually for a small, invited, field.
"I am extremely disappointed that I will not be at my tournament this week," Woods said. "I am certain it will be an outstanding event and I'm very sorry that I can't be there."
His decision to withdraw comes after a car crash left him with cuts and bruises when his SUV hit a fire hydrant and a tree early Friday outside his home in a gated Florida golf community. Woods was treated and released at a hospital after the accident, and has not been seen in public since.
By skipping the tournament, Woods will escape having to face TV cameras and a horde of media seeking more details about the smashup.
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Woods released a statement Sunday on tigerwoods.com, saying the accident was his fault, but he did not address any of the questions still swirling around it. He asked that it remain "a private matter," but with the Florida Highway Patrol still investigating and the media in full pursuit, Woods may not get his way.
Woods even faced questions from fans leaving comments on his own Web site. Most voiced support for the golfer, but some said he should address the questions about his own actions and those of his wife, Elin Nordegren, before and after the accident.
Police reports say Nordegren used a golf club to break the windshield and pull him out of the driver's seat.
What is driving intense media focus is Woods' refusal to speak to the Florida Highway Patrol about the circumstances of the crash, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston. He has turned them away from his home three times.
But Woods' attorney did provide the police with Woods' drivers license, registration, and proof of insurance, as required by law.
"Quite honestly, I'd advise my client to do the same thing that Tiger is doing," defense attorney Andrew Moses told Pinkston. "You gave the proper information and your job is done."
Why not talk to authorities?
"Depending on the answers he gave to their questions, there may be further criminal prosecution of him or somebody else," Moses said.
Speculation centers on the source of woods' facial injuries and whether they were caused by the car accident. The incident occurred shortly after the National Enquirer ran a story that Woods was seen with another woman raising the speculation whether there may have been an altercation between Woods and wife, Pinkston reports.
Woods' silence has fueled the rumor mill, a development that threatens his largely untarnished public image.
Ken Sunshine, a public relations specialist, told CBS' "The Early Show" that Woods' public posture has been a
"Sponsors are probably nervous," he said. "At the very least, they can't be happy with all this speculation."
Woods hasn't answered questions from Florida troopers, either, turning them down three days in a row. Meanwhile, the tabloid-fueled rumors continue to swirl around perhaps the richest and most-recognizeable athletes in the world.
Four cars were parked in Woods' driveway Monday, but no lights appeared to be on inside. A new fire hydrant had already replaced the one that Woods plowed into. A dirt hole and an orange barricade remained in the old hydrant's place.
Woods, who both hosts and plays in the Chevron World Challenge, was there last year even though he couldn't play because he was recovering from knee surgery. His absence this year will be the first since the tournament - which has only an 18-player field - began in 1999.
Though he cited injuries from the accident in withdrawing from the tournament, Woods didn't specifically say what those injuries included. A neighbor who called 911 after Woods ran over the hydrant and into a tree said he was unconscious and laying outside his SUV. His wife told Windermere police she used a golf club to smash the back windows to help him out.
Woods' only public comment has been via two statements released on his Web site, one saying the accident was his fault alone and the second saying he was withdrawing from the tournament.
"This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way," Woods said. "Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible. ...
"I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received," the statement concluded. "But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be."
The traffic crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
Florida authorities may be seeking a search warrant to try and determine whether the injuries he sustained were caused during the car crash or prior to it, Pinkston reports.
Florida law enforcement officials, however, deny they are seeking any search warrants.
CBS News legal analyst Lisa Bloom told "The Early Show" that a search warrant would be relatively easy for police to acquire, if they wanted one, and that they do have legal obligation to pursue any allegations of spousal abuse. However, notes Bloom, there have been no such allegations made in this case.