‘Ir­re­spon­si­ble’

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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.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Tiger Woods makes a state­ment at the Saw­grass Play­ers Club, Fri­day in Ponte Ve­dra Beach, Fla.

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