Tiger Woods stopped talking to friends Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley after 'the crash'

Even as Tiger Woods made his much-awaited return to the PGA Tour in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Thursday, he couldn’t escape a reminder of his troubled past few years.

The Undefeated ran a lengthy story Thursday detailing how the golfer’s friendship with basketball legends Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley fizzled after that 2009 incident in which Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree. Details that emerged about Woods’ personal life in the wake of that crash stained his reputation, cost him endorsements and led to a divorce from his wife, Elin Nordegren.

Barkley says he hasn’t heard from Woods since before that crash.

“To this day, I don’t have any idea what happened,” Barkley told The Undefeated. “After that … thing, he just stopped talking to us. That’s all I know.

“I could understand if he was trying to get back with his wife at the time and she said, ‘Hey, get rid of all your old friends,’ and he called and said, ‘This is the situation.’ I would’ve understood that. But I just wish he would have been man enough to call and say that. To just disappear totally was disappointing.”

The Undefeated said Jordan didn’t speak to Woods for more than seven years after that incident, and hasn’t spoken to him since Jordan’s frank comments about Woods in an ESPN The Magazine story in April 2016. Jordan told the magazine Woods still felt guilt and regret about what had happened, and he was worried about how other people perceived him.

“That bothers him more than anything,” Jordan told ESPN. “It looms. It’s in his mind. What can you do? The thing is about T-Dub, he cannot erase. That’s what he really wants. He wants to erase the things that happened.

“The thing is, I love him so much that I can’t tell him, ‘You’re not gonna be great again.’”

Barkley said he still wonders what happened to his friendship with Woods.

“Like I said, he could have called me and said, ‘I’m trying to get back with my wife and I’m getting rid of all my friends,’ and I would have said, ‘OK, cool, bro. I totally understand it,’” Barkley said. “You know, I thought we were friends. But for a guy to just disappear like that, it made me step back. Because I thought I was a good friend to him.”

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