An emotional Tiger Woods apologised for his “irresponsible and selfish behavior” on Friday as the golf superstar broke his silence on the sex scandal that engulfed him last year.
In a brutally honest self-assessment, which was broadcast live across every major network in the United States, the 34-year-old confirmed he had been in rehab for 45 days where he was reportedly seeking treatment for sex addiction.
Repeatedly apologising to family, friends and fans, Woods gave no clue as to when he might return to professional golf, saying only that it would be “one day” and that it might possibly be this year.
“I want to say to each of you simply and directly: I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in,” Woods told a hand-picked audience of friends and journalists at the USPGA Tour Headquarters. On Friday he emerged before a spellbound nation to apologise and admit that he had been in a rehabilitation center for 45 days and that he would return to therapy following his statement.
“It’s hard to admit that I need help, but I do,” Woods said. “For 45 days from the end of December to early February I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing,” Woods said. “I have a long way to go. But I’ve taken my first steps in the right
direction.” Woods said that during a sporting career which had seen him elevated to iconic status, and on course to become the most successful golfer in history, he had begun to feel that “the normal rules don't apply.”
“The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior...” Woods said. “I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply.
“I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled.
“Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them. I was wrong, I was foolish. The same boundaries that apply to everyone, apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admired me.
“I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It’s now up to me to make amends.”
“Finally, there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today I want to ask for your help.”
Immediately after the statement, Woods stepped from the podium to embrace his mother Kultilda, sitting in the front row.