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Tiger Woods: "I'm deeply sorry"

By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Tiger Woods apologized Friday for
cheating on his wife and said he is unsure when he will return to
competitive golf.
"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, the planet's best golfer
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."
Woods talked for more than 13 minutes from the clubhouse at the
TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour. About 40 people were in the
room, including his mother, with an untold number watching around
the world as he made his public confession.
When Woods finished, he 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.
The whole event carried an air of formality, as Woods, dressed
in a suit with an open-collared dress shirt, spoke from behind a
podium backed by a blue curtain.
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 behavior," 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 traffic accident Nov.
27 triggered shocking revelations about Woods' 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."
In Sweden, Elin's father, Thomas Nordegren, said he saw Woods'
confession.
"I watched it but I have nothing to say right now," Nordegren
told The Associated Press.
Elin's mother, Barbro Holmberg, declined to comment on Woods'
apology, through her spokeswoman Eva Malmborg.
Friday's event was tightly controlled, with only a few
journalists allowed to watch Woods live. The televised confession
became a major television event with the networks breaking in to
show it.
No other PGA Tour player could command this kind of attention.
Woods is one of the most recognized athletes in the world.
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.
And no other athlete had such a spectacular fall. Accenture and
AT&T have ended their endorsement contracts with him, and Woods has
become the butt of jokes on everything from late shows to Disney
performances.
Woods' statement came during the Match Play Championship,
sponsored by Accenture.
Ernie Els was among players who were upset to learn that Woods
had chosen the week of a World Golf Championship for a public
appearance that was sure to take attention away from the
tournament. "It's selfish," Els told Golfweek magazine.
Former champion Nick Faldo, whose own personal life has been
subject to media scrutiny over the years, watched Woods and told
the Golf Channel: "It has left a big question mark: When is he
going to return? We have had the apology but as golfers we are back
at square one."
The companies that have stuck most closely by Woods, Nike Inc.
and Electronic Arts Inc., reiterated their support.
"Tiger has apologized and made his position clear. Nike fully
supports him and his family. We look forward to him returning to
golf," the company said in a statement.
EA Sports president Peter Moore said in a statement: "It was
good to see Tiger address the public today, and we're supportive of
his focus toward family and rebuilding his life."
Woods' appearance drew reaction from all corners.
From the Olympics, American Alpine skier Julia Mancuso posted on
Twitter: "do we think this is coming from the heart or the paper!
come on Tiger! give us some reality here."
Veronica Siwik-Daniels, one of Woods' alleged mistresses and a
former pornographic performer, watched the event with her attorney
in a Los Angeles radio studio. She said she wants an apology for
the unwanted attention the scandal has brought her.
"I really feel I deserve to look at him in person face to face
in the eyes because I did not deserve this," she said.
---
Associated Press writer John Rogers in Los Angeles and AP Retail
Writers Ashley Heher in Chicago and Sarah Skidmore in Portland,
Ore., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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