11/27/09: Where Were You?
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

11/27/09: Tiger was in a car accident that triggered his fall from grace

It’s been a year since Tiger Woods was involved in a fender bender with a tree and a fire hydrant in the wee hours after Thanksgiving triggered a 24/7 news cycle of shocking revelations that led to the “Chosen One’s” swift fall from his Teflon-like throne. And since I write a golf blog, there’s some level of expectation that I wax all sorts of profound on what’s transpired in the last 12 months with Tiger. But honestly, what do I have left to say (that hasn’t been said already)? “Besides, everyone has probably heard more than they ever wanted to about my private life,” Tiger wrote in a guest column for Newsweek published last week during his preemptive 24-hour media blitz.

That’s the understatement of the century.

But whenever significant, game-changing moments occur in history, we like to look back and ask, WHERE WERE YOU? You know: “Where were you when JFK was shot?” “Where were you when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk the moon?” “Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell?” “Where were you when Tom Watson almost became the oldest major champion in sport?” Etc.

Where were you when you heard Tiger Woods was “seriously injured” in a car accident?

Tiger's Caddy after hitting just about every immovable object in front of his driveway the night after Thanskgiving '09

Ugh, give me a break, right? I mean, yeah, it sounds absolutely absurd when you actually type it out.

However, if you must ask — since I remember it much too clearly than I should admit — I was in the Philadelphia area at my then-boyfriend’s parents’ house. I had gone upstairs to nap/watch TV in the guest bedroom because I was sick of beating my head against the wall trying to blog something interesting out of nothing in the golf world. So I’m 27 minutes into episode one of a Criminal Minds marathon on A&E when then-bf storms into the room with a “holy crap!” expression on his face and says, “Tiger was in a car accident! He’s in the hospital!” (It was a very ! moment.)

I was shifted my zoned-out yet engrossed stare at the TV and looked at him disinterestedly. I mustered the energy to groggily ask, “Oh, is he OK?” And then returned my attention to the screen to listen to Agents Hotchener and Morgan psychoanalyze the unsub’s viciously jagged stab wound patterns on the victims.

Then-bf looked at me bewildered. “What are you doing? Tiger Woods was in a car accident. Get downstairs! It’s all over CNN!”

OH! It had taken me a few seconds to process the situation. After all, Tiger was invincible. This news couldn’t be serious. He probably got into a fender-bender on his way to the Black Friday sale at Wal-mart.

But next thing I knew, I had switched from lazy day of leftovers to frantically typing away on my laptop and phone to gather the little information available. By that time (five-ten minutes later), CNN was reporting that the accident had occurred at 2:25am and the actual status of his condition was unknown.

Considering the post I’d published two days earlier with the headline, “Tiger Woods Rumored to Be Tossing This Woman Around Like One of His Drivers,” I remember then-bf and I looking at each other knowingly. As the updates came, it wasn’t dinner before the situation morphed into a twisted yet believable soap opera.

And then in the following days and months, we learned more than we ever wished to know about Tiger with each voicemail, text message, morning news show and e-mail that Jaimee, Rachel, Corey and Mindy leaked or sold to the press. We’ve also heard from Tiger dozens of times — the robotic messages on his website, the painfully awkward apology statement, the horrific Nike commercial and the mind-numbing press conferences throughout the season.

With the year anniversary of The Car Crash That Changed Golf Forever, he tried to bore us to death with getting in front of the story (the Newsweek column, Twitter, a radio interview with ESPN’s Mike & Mike and a blog post on his website).

In the radio spot, Tiger basically recited the same answers he’s given since Day 1 and rehashed the whole painful melodrama. It was Tiger Woods overload. He talked to Mike & Mike about the life lessons his dad taught him. I learned an important one that day, too: Never wake up for Tiger before 8am unless he’s golfing (which is dubious these days).

With all that’s happened in a year, what have we learned about Tiger Woods and 11/27/09? (Besides his affinity for Perkins waitresses and sexting, of course.) He’s human and the perfect life painted of him with the perfect wife and the perfect children with the perfect dog was a sham. It’s actually quite sad (but remember, it was self-inflicted — just ask Dr. Phil!). Because he’s drilled it into our eardrums, we also know he’s “infinitely” happier and so thankful.

Most important lesson of all: Golf without Tiger Woods fist-pumps and come-from-behind wins  just isn’t nearly as exciting. Even if Rickie, Rory and Ryo were to each win before The Masters, their three victories wouldn’t equate to the buzz and interest that a Tiger victory would create.

Here’s hoping Tiger comes back strong in 2011 (and starts dating again, but I don’t need to hear about it — not that I wouldn’t listen).

(AP Photos)