Tiger Woods’ pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday at the 101st PGA Championship began with a dark cloud hanging over the newly-minted 15-time major champion.
On Monday in Palm Beach County, Woods, his girlfriend and his restaurant were named in a wrongful death lawsuit that stemmed from the death of a former bartender at The Woods Jupiter, the Tiger-owned establishment near his home.
According to the lawsuit, 24-year-old Nicholas Immesberger finished his bartending shift at 3 p.m. on December 10, 2018, but remained at the bar and was served to “severe intoxication” by The Woods staff. Immesberger died of injuries sustained in a car crash after leaving the establishment.
Immesberger had a blood-alcohol level of .256 at the time of his death, more than three times the legal limit.
Woods was asked about his feelings on the lawsuit midway through the press conference.
“Well, we’re all very sad that Nick passed away,” Woods said. “It was a terrible night, a terrible ending, and we feel bad for him and his entire family. It’s very sad.”
— WPTV (@WPTV) May 14, 2019
While Woods was meeting the media outside of New York City, Immesberger’s parents were holding their own press conference, which was broadcast live on CNN.
“I’m hoping that the restaurants and the bars take notice and realize when someone is impaired and can’t drive so it doesn’t happen to someone else,” Immesberger’s mother, Katherine Belowsky, said. “Because I know this isn’t the only bar that over-serves. It’s a tragedy.
“He referred to The Woods as his family and as his friends, and when he needed them they kind of just looked the other way.”
The family is seeking damages for medical and funeral costs that total around $15,000.
According to Deadspin.com, attorneys Craig Goldenfarb and Spencer Kuvin who are representing Immesberger’s parents say they have evidence that management at The Woods destroyed three hours’ worth of security footage in the hours after Immesberger’s death.
“One of the most significant issues we have here is the destruction of evidence,” Kuvin said. “Obviously, it shows that somebody knew something had gone wrong and they wanted to get rid of that evidence. We have evidence to show that that videotape, showing Nick at the bar that night after he got off at 3 p.m., drinking for three hours at the bar, was destroyed shortly after the crash had occurred.”
Woods is set to tee off in the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday at 8:24 a.m.