Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Updated: Woods Apologizes and Alleged Third Woman

Embattled iconic golfer and athlete Tiger  Woods confessed Wednesday to unspecified “transgressions” and apologized to his family and fans, while yet a third woman has now been romantically linked to the star.

Late Thursday, the first woman who was his alleged mistress, New York nightclub hostess Rachel Utichel, scheduled a press conference where she was expected to admit the affair and offer proof. Prior to that, she had categorically denied the relationship. Unexpectedly, that press conference was canceled due to "unforeseen circumstances," and there would be no further statement.

Sadly, yet a third leggy brunette has surfaced as a suspected mistress of Woods. After hostess ad Playboy model Uchitel, and reality television star turned Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, it is the marketing manager of “The Bank,” a night club in Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Her name is Kalika Moquin. She had been featured on a Las Vegas magazine and is considered to be one of the most influential people in Las Vegas. According to the rumors that are circulating around this woman, she was privy to the intimate details of the Woods’ marital life.

What increased the media’s attention in the story is that Moquin did not follow the route taken by Grubbs, and now apparently Utichel. She was not willing to comment on her relationship with Woods.

While on the one hand she did not say that she was actually having an affair with the golfer, on the other hand, she said that she did not think that it was appropriate of her to comment on the matter. Now that is enough of an innuendo for the press to become curios about the affair.

Rumors claim that Woods had imparted to her gritty details of his marriage with Elin Norgreden.

He had allegedly told her that he was unhappy about his marriage and that he was under a lot of pressure regarding his home life. Reportedly, the two had met some two years back, but the affair had started between them sometime this October. She had been allegedly seen with Woods a couple of times at his hotel in Vegas, as late as Oct. 23.

I used to be a print journalist – for decades. In the old days, a celebrity’s private life was definitely off-limits. The same was true for politicians, unless their private behavior had an impact on their public behavior/governing.

Sadly, those days are truly dead and buried. For years now, “anything and everything goes” has been the credo of the “new news media,” and the more prurient the better. If said bad behavior involves a politician: wahoo; but if that bad behavior involves a celebrity: wahoo, WAHOO!

Well, can you say jackpot! The media gets to excoriate the most famous golfer/athlete on the planet! In fact, he’s even the first sports star who has made $1 billion, and has established a non-profit foundation that helps children worldwide. What makes the rabid press salivate and gnash their teeth even more is that Woods has built that empire on a squeaky-clean image of a stalwart family man, who in actual fact appears to be a deeply troubled man with a disturbing trail of a serial infidelities.

Well, Woods has proven that he is a guy with faults, albeit huge ones, just like so many of the rest of us. He’s acted very inappropriately, and he got caught. He’s sorry and he wants to deal with the inevitable fallout of his atrocious behavior with his wife and family. Let him!

The pathologically private Woods was forced to confront rumors of having serial infidelities publicly because of the feeding frenzy by the media, and posted a somewhat tortured statement Wednesday on his Web site, that included his heartfelt apology.

"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," he writes. "I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect."

But why was he forced to do this publicly? Why do we believe that we have a right to know the very, very private, even intimate behavior of sports celebrities, and other celebrities? Since when does being arguably the greatest golfer in history, mean that he has to come clean about his private behavior to the worldwide masses?

In the wake of a one-car accident last week, rumors had swirled that the crash was somehow caused by allegations that Woods, 33, had been involved in an affair behind wife's back. Despite Florida authorities saying they considered the case closed, scrutiny only grew – and another woman emerged, claiming she and the pro golfer had been involved in a 31-month romance, complete with torrid text messages and some voice mails.

Woods categorically denied reports that domestic violence could have played any role in the car accident as "utterly false and malicious."

While Tiger did not clarify the "transgressions," today’s Web site statement came after 24-year-old Los Angeles cocktail waitress Grubbs claimed to have had a three-year-long affair with the golf superstar. She said she has the evidence to prove it.

In a voicemail, apparently from Woods to Grubbs, posted on the US Weekly Web site, a panicked and strained voice identified as Woods by US Weekly apparently begs Grubbs to change her voicemail greeting. The voicemail is from Nov. 24, the day before reports of his alleged affairs surfaced, according to US Weekly.

"Hey it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor," Woods says in the message. "Can you please, uh, take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, um, what do you call it, just have it as a number on the voicemail. Just have it as your telephone number. You have to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."

I have to say, Woods has a very distinctive voice, and the recording that was played in the media is unmistakably HIS voice.

The voicemail was accompanied by a lengthy article in which Grubbs claims to have had 20 sexual encounters with Woods since April 2007. She also claims to have more than "three hundred racy texts from Woods," as well as photos.

International attention was thrust on Woods this weekend following a bizarre single-vehicle crash early Friday morning which sent Woods temporarily to the hospital. The crash occurred about 2:30 a.m., outside Woods’ home in Windermere, Fla. Woods, who had been driving at a slow speed, hit a mail box then careened into a tree. Woods has said that his wife heard the crash, rushed out and used a golf club to knock out the back windows of the vehicle and dragged him out of the wreckage. A neighbor who called 911, told police that Woods was unconscious for a short time.

Woods, who suffered facial lacerations, cuts and bruises said later that his wife “acted courageously,” in helping him.

The crash fueled a barrage of media speculation that the crash might be linked to tabloid reports Woods' had allegedly been cheating on his wife with Utichel.

Utichel categorically denied any romantic involvement with Woods on Tuesday. Yet on Thursday, Utichel's denial had been expected to be reveresed. She had scheduled a press conference where she was expected to confirm she had an affair with him, and to provide proof. The press conference was canceled.

Later Tuesday Grubbs' claims about her affair with Woods appeared on the US Weekly Web site.

Before Grubbs spoke out about their alleged relationship, Woods apparently referenced the tabloid allegations of the affair with Utichel in a statement on his Web site following the accident.

In an earlier statement, Woods praised his wife for "acting courageously" to help him after his accident and denounced "unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me."

After a five-day investigation, the Florida Highway Patrol announced Tuesday Woods was issued a traffic citation for careless driving. Woods had refused to meet with troopers investigating the crash on three separate occasions, ostensibly because Florida in among states that adheres to “Sunshine Laws,” meaning that every police report and taken statement becomes public record. His lawyer said Woods paid a $164 fine and lost four points on his license. He will not face criminal charges stemming from last week's car crash, investigators said.

"We are pleased with the outcome," said Tiger's attorney Mark NeJame. "It's over."

On Tuesday, the lawyer for the neighbor who called 911 after Woods' car crash said that the golf star's injuries had appeared to be the result of the accident and not a domestic dispute.

Woods dropped out of this week's Chevron World Challenge in California, which he has hosted for nine years, because of injuries sustained in the crash.

The following, is Wood’s complete statement he issued Wednesday on his website:

“I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

“Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

“But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

“Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

“I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.”

Obviously, the ugly public chapter for Woods continues, and continues to get even uglier, if possible.

Woods has a lot of difficult days ahead dealing with his wife, his family, the crush of the media, and whatever it is within his own psyche that caused his behavior.

A man as smart as Woods should have known that his womanizing would eventually be exposed. The fact that he didn't, or that the possibility of explosive discovery failed to deter his self-destructive course, speaks volumes about his mindset, and dire need of professional help.

I hope that he gets that psychological help that he obviously needs, and that his wife gets all of the love and support that she needs from family and friends to some how cope with all of this, so that she can decide what she should, or should not do in terms of her life and marriage.

I also hope that Woods image as the top golfer remains undiminished, but it is probable now that his “brand” will indeed suffer, and that he may lose endorsements or sponsors. They have steadfastly stood behind him so far, but that was before the third woman emerged, and prior to Utichel's apparent about face and big reveal.

The extent of any financial damage remains to be seen, and may likely depend upon any further unsavory revelations that become public. I truly hope, however, that his very important non-profit organization to benefit children continues to thrive despite the burgeoning scandal.

— The Curator

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