A quick response and as much transparency as possible are prime articles of faith among crisis managers. Get any damaging news out quickly and completely so you can move on. Letting speculation fester is never a good strategy.
So what are Tiger Woods and his handlers thinking by refusing to cooperate with the police and releasing only cryptic and defensive statements to the public following his late-night collision with a fire hydrant and his neighbor's tree last Friday? The low-speed collision (the SUV's airbags did not deploy)accident left Woods unconscious. By the time police arrived, Woods' wife had pulled him from the SUV, reportedly using one of his golf clubs to smash out a rear window, evidently to unlock the vehicle's doors.
Woods is extremely disciplined in how he speaks to the media and is used to being able to control the public conversation to a greater extent than just about any highly visible athlete or celebrity. So his natural instinct is to go radio silent.
But it isn't realistic to expect the mass media and the blogosphere to simply go away. In the absence of anything resembling complete disclosure, the rumor mill runs rampant. Quite simply, Tiger's stone-walling leads reasonable people to conclude that he's hiding something. Canceling appearances in his own golf tournament and likely all other tournaments the rest of the year will not quiet interest in Tigers' strange behavior.
Woods is an incredible athlete with legions of loyal fans. He's extremely likable and perhaps the only flaw in his public persona is a somewhat cold exterior that comes with his unrivaled mental discipline.
Odds are that the public will learn sooner or later whatever circumstances surrounded the accident Tiger wishes we'd all forget. Better to get it out and move on.