Tiger Woods: "I Brought This Shame on Myself"

Fallen superstar pleads for privacy for family

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Tiger Woods makes a statement at the Sawgrass Players Clubin Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

    Tiger Woods emerged from more than two months of seclusion, apologizing for "bitterly disappointing" his family and fans, saying he would seek salvation in Buddhism and defiantly demanding privacy for his wife and children.

    "For all that I have done, I am so sorry," Woods said in the brief, 11 a.m. EST session from TPC Sawgrass, which was aired by all the major networks.

    Woods Apologizes for Indiscretions

    [NEWSC] Woods Apologizes for Indiscretions
    The superstar golfer admitted he cheated on his wife and let down those who believed in him. (Published Friday, Feb 19, 2010)

    Woods told the small gathering "I brought this shame on myself," referring to the long string of affairs that became public starting in November. He said he and his wife, Elin Nordegren are talking and angrily denied reports that she had beaten him after a post Thanksgiving day car crash near his Florida mansion that kicked off the meltdown of his personal life.

    "Many of you have cheered for me or you worked with me or you supported me," Woods said to the gathering, which included selected reporters. "Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me.

    "I want to say to each of you simply and directly I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable.

    "I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish," Woods continued. "People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife Elin and my children."

    Nordegren was not at the event, but Woods mother was, and the golf great hugged and kissed her after his emotional speech.

    Woods did not seem to know whether his marriage to the Swedish stunner and mother of his two kids will survive.

    "Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage," he said. "My real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time."

    Woods did not specifically confirm reports he has been in rehab for sexual addiction, but said he spent 45 days in inpatient treatment getting "guidance for the issues I'm facing." He said he would be returning for more treatment.
     
    "I do plan to return to golf one day," he said. "I just don't know when that day will be."
     
    Woods said his long list of achievements on the golf course are not as important as character and integrity, but admitted losing sight of that during his years of sneaking around behind his wife's back with as many as a dozen different women.
     
    "I convinced myself that normal rules did not apply," Woods said. "I thought only about myself. I thought I could get away with whatever i wanted to.

    "[But] I dont get to play by different rules," he said. "My failures have made me look at myself in a way i never wanted to before."

    During the course of the embarrassing revelations of his infidelity, several high profile sponsors ditched Woods while others stayed on. Those that didn't dump the golfer reiterated their support on Friday.

    "Tiger has apologized and made his position clear. Nike fully supports him and his family," the sports company, which has built its golfing brand around Tiger, said in a statement to Access Hollywood. "We look forward to him returning to golf."

    "It was good to see Tiger address the public today, and we're supportive of his focus toward family and rebuilding his life," EA Sports president Peter Moore said in a statement.

    Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said before the speech that it shows Woods is on the way back.

    "This is all about the next step," Steinberg, told The Associated Press a day before the event. "He's looking forward to it."

    The address came a day after Woods was spotted in public for the first time since the scandal broke when he was photographed jogging with a friend near his Florida home.

    Woods won the Australian Masters Nov. 15, but hasn't played golf since.