Tiger Woods will face his first extended public questioning over a devastating sex scandal on Monday in a dramatic start to a tension-packed comeback week of golf at the Masters.
Reporters from around the world will have the chance to seek details about the early morning crash last November that sparked revelations Woods had cheated on wife Elin, a former Swedish model, with more than a dozen women.
“I tried to stop and I couldn’t. It was horrific,” Woods said last month. “I’ve done some pretty bad things. I take full ownership of it. I did it.”
Woods apologized by way of postings on his website, a statement broadcast worldwide in February and two five-minute March television interviews, where he detailed regret and humiliation in an epic mea culpa for all to see.
“I was living a life of a lie,” Woods told ESPN in March. “I was doing a lot of things that hurt a lot of people.
“I’m as disappointed as everyone else in my own behavoir because I can’t believe I actually did that to the people I love.”
Now, iconic former role model and billion-dollar endorsement pitchman Woods is fighting to put the gossip firestorm behind him by ending a layoff of nearly five months at the controlled atmosphere of Augusta National Golf Club.
“It’s going to be a huge event, and I think one of the positives from Tiger’s perspective (is) doing his press conference Monday and getting it out of the way, for his sake and everybody’s sake,” South African star Ernie Els said.
Woods will take questions from a jam-packed interview room mainly featuring golf writers rather than a tabloid media with little interest in the year’s first major golf championship before Woods’s revelations of infidelity in December.
“It makes it a bit more E! Entertainment, doesn’t it?” said Irishman Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion seeking his first Masters title.
Mark O’Meara, a former Masters champion, expressed hope his friend Woods can begin to close the conversation about the scandal and revive interest in golf that has dimmed in his absence.
“He has made a mistake and he has come forward and really taken full responsibility,” O’Meara said.
“Now that he has come clean and he is trying to get better, you have to respect that. You don’t respect what happened, but we have to let the guy move forward.”