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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Tiger Woods seen leaving Florida hotel room with unidentified woman in 2008, source says

    (AP)

    (AP)

    Tiger Woods has carefully protected his image during his years atop the professional golf world, but in the wake of tabloid allegations of infidelity and a still unexplained early morning car accident after Thanksgiving, that image is now being scrutinized.

    And it looks like Woods does not like it one bit.

    The sports star has denied three requests from Florida law enforcement for an interview to aid in its investigation of the accident. And in a short statement released days after the accident in his gated Orlando community early Friday morning, one which left him unconscious and bloody in the street beside his Cadillac Escalade, Woods said, “This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way.”

    SLIDESHOW: Party photos of Rachel Uchitel, the woman linked to Tiger Woods.

    A former reporter who covered Woods on numerous occasions on the PGA tour told Fox411 that such a stance is par for the course with Woods. The insider said that for years, even before marrying Elin Nordegren in 2004, Tiger has taken “extraordinary efforts” to keep his private life just that: private.

    “Tiger never wanted to be a huge public figure,” the source tells Fox411. “He has a security unit that takes care of him when he’s traveling, and they keep him safe and shaded from even the prying eyes of fans and paparazzi.”

    AUDIO: The 911 call outside Tiger Woods’ home.

    But the insider says that on one occasion, that security was breached.

    “A little over a year ago Tiger was in a room at a hotel in Miami, about 90 minutes from his home,” the source said. “The room was guarded by two guards with earpieces looking very professional in suits. Tiger exited the room with a dark-haired woman, not his wife, giving his security guards the evil eye when he realized someone else was in the hall seeing him.”

    The source said that the drama surrounding the National Enquirer story that linked Woods to club promoter Rachel Uchitel, and the car accident outside his house that occurred three days later, is unfair to Woods’ wife, Elin.

    RELATED: Rachel Uchitel calls affair rumors ‘ridiculous.’

    Elin was also reported at the scene of his accident, brandishing a golf club she reportedly used to get in Woods’ car and free him, which Woods called “courageous” in his statement.

    “Elin spends so much time with the children,” the source said of the couple’s 2-year-old daughter Sam and 10-month-old son, Charlie. “She loves them and is always home with them. Whatever caused the accident, she should not have to go through all this.”

    Both Woods and Uchitel have denied the reports of an affair. Woods’ rep did not respond to Fox411’s repeated requests for comment for this story.

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