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Teacher calls Tiger's kindergarten-attack tale 'completely untrue'

April 2, 2010 | 12:06 pm

Tiger teacher Tiger Woods' kindergarten teacher, Maureen Decker, is asking for public and personal apologies from the golfer "to put my mind at ease and set the record straight" about a story he's been telling for years: that he was the victim of a racially motivated attack on his first day of school, and that his teacher didn't do much about it.

Said attorney Gloria Allred: "Her contention is that the statement is completely untrue, since the incident didn't occur."

Speaking at a press conference Friday at Allred's office, Decker and Allred asserted that an anecdote repeated in a 2005 book describes an event that Decker never witnessed nor was told about. The passage in the book quotes Woods as saying, in part, "The teacher said, 'Okay, just go home.' So I had to outrun all these kids." That after a group of older kids allegedly tied him up, spray-painted the n-word on him and threw rocks.

The teacher, now 69 and retired, said she has suffered with migraine headaches, elevated blood pressure and colitis as the story continues to pop up over time. Friends and co-workers tried, as did Decker, she said, to get through to Woods or his representatives about setting the record straight, but were unsuccessful.

"There was no way for me, as an individual, to get through to him, so that is why" she connected herself with Allred. "I just cannot continue to go on this way."

Decker first heard the account on a Barbara Walters special, she said, and was more recently reminded of it by her sister when an episode of "Extra" touched on the alleged incident in the wake of Woods' infidelities.

Decker also disputed Woods' claim that he was the only minority child around, citing as evidence ...

... the class picture, though students' faces had been blocked out in what Allred called "an abundance of caution." Decker -- who had Tiger as her pupil at Cerritos Elementary in Anaheim in 1981-82 -- remembered Woods' mother fondly, and said he was "intense and a perfectionist even at that young age."

Decker speculated that Tiger started telling the story for publicity, likely at his father's urging. 

"I always cared about Tiger, as I did and still do for all my students," she said. "I hope he will care about the harm he has done to me as well."

A 1995 Los Angeles Times article includes the anecdote, though there is no reference to Woods' teacher. The school's principal at the time and another parent who was often on campus told TMZ on Friday that they had not heard of such an incident.

Allred also held up a tape of a 1998 TV movie, "The Tiger Woods Story," that includes a scene in which a teacher helps a bloodied Tiger clean up in a school bathroom; Decker says she never would have left her  class, but rather would have called the nurse or principal. The "Miss Ward" character has Decker's maiden name, though she said she never taught under that name in California.

Decker said that if Tiger were to apologize to her during his Masters press conference Monday, she'd still want a personal phone call, but would probably move on if the phone didn't ring. No lawsuit is planned, and Decker says she wants no money.

The suggestion from Allred, who says she will be sending Woods' camp a letter?

"I think he should have to stay after class." 

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Tiger Woods on Oct. 7, 2009, during practice for the 2009 Presidents Cup in San Francisco. Credit: Matt Campbell / EPA.

Related dispatch from the Ministry of Gossip: 

Et tu, Tiger Woods' kindergarten teacher? Et tu?

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