Tiger Woods apologizes for behaviour, unsure when he will play golf again.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods re-emerged into public life Friday, issuing another apology for his infidelity at a closely scripted event and affirming he will play golf again — he’s just not sure when.
Speaking before a small group at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse and a massive television audience, one of the world’s most-recognized athletes repeatedly told his family, sponsors and fans — in essence, everyone connected with him — that he was sorry for his behaviour.
“I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable,” said Woods, looking composed and speaking in a steady voice. His wife, Elin, was not with him.
As for coming back to the PGA Tour, Woods said: “I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out it will be this year.”
Like Woods’s career itself, the event demanded attention.
The golfer talked for 13 1/2 minutes at the clubhouse, home of the PGA Tour. About 40 people were in the room, including his mother in the front row. All sat quietly as Woods, a billion-dollar brand, spoke from behind a podium backed by a blue curtain. He used the word “sorry” three times and “apology” twice.
When he finished, Woods hugged his mother and she whispered in his ear.
“I said ‘ I’m so proud of you. Never think you stand alone. Mom will always be there for you and I love you,”’ Kultida Woods said.
Admitting he felt he “deserved to enjoy the temptations” that came with his fabulous success, Woods said he is solely responsible for his actions. “I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behaviour,” Woods said.
Woods said he was in treatment for 45 days and will return for more therapy, adding he has more work to do to resolve his personal problems.
Woods had not talked in public since his drove his SUV into a tree outside his home in Florida on Nov. 27, triggered shocking revelations about his serial infidelity.
As for his marriage, he said: “Every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me, issues between a husband and wife.”
“As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words,” Woods added. “It will come from my behaviour over time.”
In Sweden, Elin’s father, Thomas Nordegren, saw Woods’s confession.
“I watched it but I have noth- ing to say right now,” Nordegren told The Associated Press. Elin’s mother, Barbro Holmberg, declined to comment through her spokeswoman.
Friday’s event was tightly controlled, with only a few journalists allowed to watch Woods live. The confession became a major television event with the networks breaking in to show it.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos called the speech “one of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure.”
Said golf analyst David Feherty on CBS: “ The vast number of people just want their Tiger Woods back.”
Certainly, no other PGA Tour player could command this kind of attention.
But Woods has always been special on the course and in popular culture. Television ratings double when he is in contention, which has happened a lot on his way to winning 71 times on the PGA Tour and 14 majors, four short of the record held by Jack Nicklaus.
No other athlete had such a spectacular fall. Accenture and AT&T has ended its endorsement contracts with him, and Woods has become the butt of jokes on everything from late shows to Disney performances.
The companies that have stuck most closely by Woods, Nike Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc., reiterated their support.
Veronica Siwik-Daniels, one of Woods’s alleged mistresses and a former pornographic performer, watched the event with her lawyer in a Los Angeles radio studio.
She said she wants an apology for the unwanted attention the scandal has brought her.
Tiger Woods makes a statement at the Sawgrass Players Club, Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.