Nightclub hostess denies fling with Tiger

ORLANDO, Florida: A New York nightclub hostess Tuesday denied reports she had a fling with Tiger Woods, as neighbours backed the golf superstar’s account of his mysterious early morning car crash.Rachel Uchitel, 33, said she had met Tiger twice in her life and only in her professional capacity as director of VIP services at a New York nightclub.

“It’s the most ridiculous story. It’s like they are asking me to comment if there are aliens on Earth,” Rachel Uchitel told the New York Post.

Friday’s crash came two days after the National Enquirer reported Woods, 33, was having an affair with Uchitel, 33, who was in Australia at the same time as he was competing there last month.

There has been media speculation that Woods’ wife Elin, a Swedish former model, confronted him and chased him with a golf club, smashing in the rear windows of the vehicle as Woods tried to flee, causing him to lose control.

But the 14-time major winner issued a statement on his website Sunday hitting out at the “unfounded and malicious rumours”.

And Uchitel insisted “Tiger and I are not friends,” telling the New York Post that the fact that she was in Australia at the same time as Woods was only a coincidence.

“Like I could just walk up to the 35th floor and go to the Presidential Suite if Tiger Woods was staying there? Like they would hand a girl a key at the front desk and let her go to Tiger’s room. I didn’t see him at all in Australia. I was just there with friends.”

Bill Sharpe, an attorney for Woods’ neighbour Linda Adams and her family, said Tuesday that the golfer’s injuries looked like those from a car accident rather than a domestic dispute, as some reports have alleged.

“The scratches on his face were consistent with someone who maybe was in a minor car accident and hit his head on the windshield,” Sharpe said. Injuries were “consistent with a car wreck and inconsistent with him being beat up.

“None of his injuries looked like he was beat up by his wife.”

Woods was found lying dazed beside his wrecked car Friday at 2.25am with facial cuts and bruises after driving into a fire hydrant and a tree.

The 14-time major champion was treated at a hospital and released.

Woods, who has remained holed up in his mansion since, said the injuries from the crash would prevent him from playing in this week’s Chevron World Challenge in Los Angeles, an 18-star golf event to benefit his charity foundation.

A refusal by Woods to explain why he was driving at such an hour, where he was going and what prompted him to go has only fuelled the speculation.

But Uchitel said the source of the tabloid stories was someone she knew slightly and with whom she was not close, a woman she described as a drug user and prostitute.

“This girl was never around me for any of the time she was saying she was,” Uchitel told the Post.

“If I was having some big, lurid affair, I would not tell this girl. It’s just ridiculous.”

Despite Uchitel’s denials, the media storm refuses to go away for Woods, whose absence from the Chevron golf tournament ended any hopes he might offer more details about the crash.

With Woods typically not starting his seasons until late January, it could be almost two months until he faces reporters again.

Police charges remain possible from what Woods called an “embarrassing” crash, but the neighbours’ attorney shed more light on the night’s events.

The noise brought Adams and her two adult sons out of their adjacent home to see what had happened.

Sharpe said they found Elin kneeling beside Woods and upset over his injuries, saying she asked them to call police and medical personnel. She did not have the golf club she said she used to smash in rear windows and pull Woods from the vehicle.

The neighbours wrapped a blanket around Woods, saying he did not appear to have been drinking — police have said alcohol was not a factor in the crash — and awaited help.

“One thing we want to make clear is that Mrs Woods’ attitude was consistent with her being concerned about her injured husband,” Sharpe said.

“Mrs Woods was trying to help him. Mrs Woods was worried about her husband.”

Woods and Elin have been married for five years and have two children, daughter Sam Alexis, born in 2007, and son Charlie Axel, born in February. — AFP

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