In his first interview since a sex scandal shattered his image, golfer Tiger Woods says he “was living a lie” and “hurt a lot people” including his wife and family, ESPN reported on Sunday.
“I was living a lie, I really was,” Woods told ESPN in his first face-to-face interview since a November car crash outside his Florida home. “And I was doing a lot of things, that hurt a lot of people.
“And stripping away denial, and rationalization, you start coming to the truth of who you really are, and that can be very ugly.”
Woods announced his return at the Masters in April after four months of self-imposed exile.
Shielded by the most secure environment in golf, it is still expected to be a circus-like atmosphere and unlike anything he has ever faced.
“When you face it, and you start conquering it, and you start living up to it, the strength that I feel now, I have never felt that type of strength,” he said.
Woods has not played since winning the Australian Masters in mid-November after a sex scandal in which he admitted cheating on wife Elin, and apologized for igniting a tabloid frenzy where more than a dozen women have claimed affairs.
Woods reiterated that he would return for the Masters on April 8.
It has been one of his most successful events as his 10 top-ten finishes in 10 Masters are the most of any of the four major tournaments.
The scrutiny and heckling at the Masters could be unlike anything Woods has ever faced before. Though he hoped that is not the case.
“I am a little nervous about that to be honest with you,” he said. “It would be nice to hear a couple of claps here and there. But I also hope they clap for birdies.”
Woods did not say whether he would return to a full schedule after the Masters.