Tiger Woods withdraws from tournament

(AP) - Tiger Woods withdrew Monday fromhis own golf tournament, citing injuries from a car crash near hisFlorida home. He said he would not compete again until next year.

Woods said in a statement on his Web site that his injuriesprevented him from playing in the Chevron World Challenge, which hehosts annually for a small, invited, field.

His decision to withdraw comes after a car crash left him withcuts and bruises when his SUV hit a fire hydrant and a tree at 2:25a.m. Friday outside his home in an exclusive, gated community nearOrlando. Woods was treated and released from a hospital after theaccident, and has not been seen in public since.

Woods released a statement Sunday saying the accident was hisfault, but he did not address any of the questions still swirlingaround it. He asked that it remain "a private matter," but withthe Florida Highway Patrol still investigating and the media infull pursuit, Woods may not get his way.

Woods hasn't answered questions from Florida troopers, either,turning them down three days in a row. Meanwhile, thetabloid-fueled rumors continue to swirl around perhaps the richestand most-recognizable athletes in the world.

Woods' only public comment has been via two statements releasedon his Web site, one saying the accident was his fault alone andthe 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 manyfalse, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currentlycirculating about my family and me are irresponsible. ...

The reference to "false, unfounded and malicious rumors" mayhave involved a story published last week in the National Enquireralleging that Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess,and that they recently were together in Melbourne, where Woodscompeted in the Australian Masters.

The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woodswhen contacted by The Associated Press. On Sunday, she flew to LosAngeles and was met by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred at theairport.

Tiger Woods' official Web site

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