0

TIGER WOODS UPDATE: Woods helping Haiti, chatting with Federer, staying away from Parnevik and leaving the Ryder Cup on the edge of its seat

Photo by Andy Wong

Photo by Andy Wong

IRVINE, Calif. -- Tiger Woods plans to help with relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti by supporting groups that provide resources to children.

However, late Friday, Greg McLaughlin, president of the Tiger Woods Foundation, said he had not received any information from rap mogul Russell Simmons, who apparently jumped the gun on Twitter and said that Woods is providing $3 million to help with the recovery.

McLaughlin said the foundation staff was evaluating "the most appropriate role" to help the Haitian people.

"Our plan is be part of the relief effort to help rebuild Haiti by supporting organizations that provide critical resources to young people, which is consistent with our mission and previous efforts regarding Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami," McLaughlin said in a statement.

Woods, who has not been seen since a Nov. 27 car accident and subsequent firestorm over extramarital affairs, established the foundation when he turned pro in 1996. Its mission is to "deliver unique experiences and innovative educational opportunities to youth worldwide," and its most recent annual report says it has reached over 10 million children.

Woods' foundation gave $100,000 to tsunami relief efforts in 2004 through Give2Asia, with the money directed toward two groups providing sanctuary and relief to children. It also gave the Baton Rouge Area Foundation $200,000 to set up a Hurricane Katrina educational fund.

------------------------

FEDERER SPEAKS TO WOODS, SAYS HE WILL BE BETTER THAN EVER IN RETURN:

Roger Federer says he's spoken to his friend Woods by phone and predicts he will be back soon "as the wonderful golfer we know."

The tennis star said in an interview published Friday that Woods' car accident in November and subsequent reports about his private life have been hard on the golfer and his family.

Federer told French sports daily L'Equipe that he expressed his support, and said Woods' troubles were "instructive."

"The tabloids are going crazy, sponsor contracts are falling apart. ... I've always been aware that the image you patiently construct for an entire career can be ruined in a minute," Federer said. "It scares you a bit, but that's the way things are."

Woods has not played since winning the Australian Masters on Nov. 15. Two weeks later, he ran his SUV into a tree outside of his Florida home in the middle of the night, and allegations of rampant affairs soon followed. He confessed to "infidelity" and said Dec. 11 he would take a break from golf to focus on becoming a better husband, father and person.

Woods hasn't been seen in public since the accident, and other friends have said they have tried -- unsuccessfully -- to reach him.

"Tiger needs calm. And soon he'll become the wonderful golfer that we know again," Federer said.

-------------------------

PARNEVIK STILL MAD AT WOODS?:

Jesper Parnevik is trying to stay out of the loop when it comes to Woods' marriage so he won't say anything he might regret.

No other PGA Tour player had such a personal stake in Woods' infidelity than Parnevik, who once employed Woods' wife, Elin, as a nanny and was responsible for introducing them.

Woods has not been seen in public in two months, and Parnevik said Tuesday he doesn't know if they will stay together.

"I've kind of stayed out of it," he said at the Sony Open, his first tournament of the year. "It's better that people don't approach me if I don't know anything. That way I don't say anything that I shouldn't have. Like if she told me something and I let it slip out. It's better that I don't know, so I can say, 'I don't know.' "

Asked if he thought Woods could stay married, Parnevik smiled and said, "That's what I mean. I can't say."

Parnevik, a five-time winner on tour, expressed outrage when allegations of Woods' extramarital affairs were revealed in December. He told a Swedish newspaper he had lost all respect for golf's No. 1 player as a man and a father, and regretted introducing the couple. "We thought better of him, but he is not the one we thought he was," he told the Aftonbladet.

Parnevik said he has received mail over the last month from fans that applauded him for not sugarcoating his feelings about Woods.

"That was more of a personal case," he said. "If I would have said something politically correct, I don't think I could have looked Elin in the eye."

Parnevik said he was shocked to hear of the infidelity, and had long defended Woods against the odd rumor of an affair.

"More and more, you hear guys say, 'We knew about it.' I had no idea," he said. "Actually, I heard people sometimes say, 'We say Tiger, we heard that Tiger had two blondes around his arm and I would say, 'No way, that was Elin and her sister.' Every story I said, 'That can't be right. Tiger would never do anything like that.' It was a big shock for me."

------------------------

RYDER CUP WAITS ON WOODS:

Depending on the future of Woods, one of his streaks is on the line this year.

Dating to 1999, Woods has led the points table for every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team. Even when he played only six times in 2008 because of knee surgery and missed his first cup competition, he still had twice as many points as any other American.

Woods is out of action indefinitely as he copes with the fallout of his infidelity. Speculation on when he might return has ranged from the Florida swing to the Masters to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach to 2011.

Where does that leave the Ryder Cup?

"There isn't much to think about right now," U.S. captain Corey Pavin said this week at the Sony Open. "It's a matter of when and if he comes back. As a captain, I'll just watch what he does."

Woods finished last year at No. 3 in the standings, which was meaningless. Under a new system installed by past captain Paul Azinger, the current year is all that matters. The only points last year were awarded at majors. In a Ryder Cup year, one point is awarded for every dollar earned on the PGA Tour, with double points at the majors.

The movement is so volatile that Woods could be out of the top eight who automatically qualify by the Florida swing. If he doesn't play, he doesn't earn points.

Then again, Pavin is allowed four captain's picks. Does he leave out the world's No. 1 player?

"A lot of it depends on his level of play," Pavin said. "I'm going to treat Tiger like any other player. If he's playing poorly, or he's not playing at all or comes back late, I'd have to think about it."

The Ryder Cup will be Oct. 1-3 in Wales, still an entire season away. Qualifying ends Aug. 15 after the PGA Championship, and Pavin doesn't have to announce his four picks until Sept. 7 after the second FedEx Cup playoff event. Woods hasn't even started his "indefinite break" because he usually doesn't start his season until San Diego, anyway.

-----------------------

MAN ARRESTED FOR FAKE WOODS GATORADE LABELS:

Authorities arrested a man this week accused of replacing labels on dozens of Gatorade bottles in Colorado with ones that had a picture of Tiger Woods and his wife and the word "unfaithful."

Thirty-eight-year-old Jason Eric Kay of Longmont, Colo., was being held Wednesday on three charges alleging he misbranded and altered food labels with intent to hurt a brand or business.

An affidavit says Kay allegedly told an FBI investigator he is an artist and considered the changed labels to be pop art in the style of Andy Warhol.

Prosecutors say Safeway and King Soopers workers found mislabeled bottles in stores in Boulder, Erie, Broomfield and Longmont.

-----------------------------------

FLA. LAWMAKER WANTS CALLER WHO REPORTED ABUSE OF WOODS' CHILDREN PROSECUTED:

A Florida lawmaker has called for an investigation into who phoned a hot line with a bogus claim that Tiger Woods' children were being abused.

The anonymous accusation last month was quickly rejected by Florida officials. But Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms wants officials, if possible, to prosecute the person.

A Department of Children and Families spokesman said Monday that a false report is difficult to prove unless the person confesses, but it result in civil or criminal penalties.

"False reporting is a very serious offense and takes precious time away from vulnerable citizens who truly need protection," spokesman Joe Follick said. "It is a crime and a frustration to the investigator and healthy families."