One of the world's most recognisable figures, golfer Tiger Woods, engulfed in media speculation over his private life after a car accident in the middle of the night, apologised on Wednesday for "transgressions" while stating that he had not been true to his values and the behavior his family deserves.
Woods, the world's number one golfer and a married father of two young children, said in a statement published on his website that he had "not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves," without directly addressing the allegations of infidelity.
"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," Woods said.
Woods, perhaps the world's richest athlete with a fortune estimated at $1 billion, suffered facial cuts and bruises when he ran his Cadillac SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree while pulling out of the driveway of his home in Windermere, Florida at around 2 a.m. last Friday.
The time of the accident and Woods' refusal to meet with police to answer questions about it triggered a storm of media speculation, during which some outlets reported that he had extra-marital relationships with at least two women.
One of the world's most recognisable figures, Woods has lucrative endorsement deals with companies such as Nike and AT&T.
The Florida Highway Patrol closed its investigation into the accident on Tuesday and issued a traffic ticket to Woods for careless driving, saying the accident was his fault but that no criminal charges would be brought.
It said there were no claims of domestic violence made during its investigation. Some media reports had speculated that the accident followed a dispute in the Woods household.
In his web posting on Wednesday, Woods called "utterly false and malicious" reports that physical violence played any role in his car accident.
Woods said his Swedish wife Elin Nordegren "has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possible expect".
"I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone," Woods said in his statement.
US Weekly magazine reported that Jaimee Grubbs, a 24-year-old cocktail waitress from California, claimed to have had a 31-month-long affair with Woods and said she had saved hundreds of text messages to prove it.
Earlier, the National Enquirer tabloid had said Woods had a relationship with Rachel Uchitel, whom the paper described as a "New York City party girl." Uchitel has denied any such relationship.
Woods immediately paid his $164 traffic fine and is happy with the result of the police probe, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.
Woods, 33, is a huge draw on the PGA tour as he chases Jack Nicklaus' record for victories in major tournaments and the unofficial title of best golfer ever. He has won 71 times on the PGA tour in a glittering career that includes 14 major wins.
He made a triumphant return to professional golf in February after being sidelined for eight months following reconstructive knee surgery, and finished on top of the FedEx Cup standings for the season.