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Woods speaks up, says crash is ‘private matter’

WINDERMERE, Fla. (AP) — Despite presenting his side of the car-crash story and asking that it remain “a private matter,” Tiger Woods may still not be in the clear.

Troopers arriving at his Isleworth home requesting an interview were turned down for a third straight day, but the Florida Highway Patrol said it will continue to investigate. Yet the tabloid-fueled rumors now swirling around one of the world’s richest and most-recognizable athletes could turn out to be more troublesome still.

About an hour before the troopers arrived Sunday afternoon, Woods released a statement on his Web site taking responsibility for — but providing few details about — the middle-of-the-night accident that left him dazed, bruised and bloodied.

“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.”

Yet several public-relations experts believed there was little chance of that request being honored.

“The goal of putting out a statement, or having a press conference, is to make sure questions are answered so you’re not continuing to have questions that are crisis-related,” said Mike Paul, whose firm, MGP & Associates, frequently works with athletes.