Tiger Woods meets the press
Tiger Woods tucked his tail away and pushed aside his pride as he took his first questions from the press since his scandal broke soiling the superstar athlete's image. Woods is in Augusta Georgia for the Masters tournament, his first tourney since crashing his car Thanksgiving night that set off the firestorm that is his cheating scandal.
Woods addressed his 14-plus affairs and the news media constant glare that has plagued his life in the last several months. The sex scandal also served as the impetus for Woods to leave the game to tend to his sex addiction and work on his family.
Although Woods didn't speak to too many specifics of his affairs, he did admit what injuries he incurred the fateful Thanksgiving night after he crashed his car.
"I had a busted lip, and a pretty sore neck…that was it," Woods said. "I needed five stitches on my lip."
For Woods, the most difficult aspect of living his life these last several months was having to look in the mirror. After a 14-plus women have come forward admitting having sexual relationships with Woods, that mirror reflection must have been horrifying.
"Two things, one having to look at myself in a light I've never had to look at myself -- that's difficult -- how far astray I got from my core fundamentals, and core morals that my mom and dad taught me, having to break all that down with the denial and rationalization, to come through that and take a hard look at myself. That's when I started finding strength and peace. The other is the constant harassment to my family. My wife and kids are being photographed everywhere they go, being badgered, that's tough on them. It's hard on us to heal trying to get through this as best we can."
Woods was able to win golf tournaments while living a completely secretive double life. While the country saw this great family man who was the best at his game, behind the scenes Woods was running around with women across the country leading heated affairs. As news kept breaking about new women who have hooked up with Woods, he felt he needed to leave golf and pay attention to his family and himself.
"Unfortunately what I've done over the last years has been just terrible to my family. The fact that I won golf tournaments is irrelevant. It's the pain and damage that I've caused to my wife, my mom, my wife's family and my kids," Woods said. The most difficult aspect of the affairs, Woods admits, is when he has to explain his extramarital affairs to his kids. "Going forward I'm going to have to explain this to them, that's my responsibility. I did it. I take full responsibility for it. Winning golf tournaments is irrelevant compared to all the damage I've caused to my family."
Most of all, Woods seemed most moved by his greeting by the fans as he completed his first 18 holes of practice round on April 5.
"Coming into today I didn't know what to expect. I tell you what the galleries couldn't have been nicer. It was just incredible. Their encouragement that I got, it blew me away. The people over the years have treated me with respect, but today was just something that touched my heart pretty good." Woods addressed his fellow pro golfers and made a plea to the media to focus on golf and move away from the tabloid nature of his persona. "I know that the players over the past few months have been bombarded with questions by the public and all of you (the press), I'd like to tell all the players, hopefully after today and answering all these questions at this press conference, the players can be left alone to focus on the Masters and their game -- not only this week, but going forward as well. I apologize to them for having to endure what they had to endure these last few months," Woods said.
"A lot has happened in my life the last five months. I'm here at the Masters to play and compete and just really excited about doing that. I missed the competition. I missed seeing the guys out here I haven't seen in a while. It was great to play golf again. It's been an incredible experience here so far at the Masters."
Was he nervous heading out for those first swings for his early morning April 5 practice round?
"That first tee, I didn't know what to expect, I really didn't. It was one of those things where I've never been in this position before," Woods said. "To be out there in front of the people after I've done some things that are just horrible -- for the fans to really want to see me play golf again -- that felt great. That really did. Usually I focus on placement on shots and getting ready. Today was a little bit different. I appreciated the reaction more that I have in a long time. It felt really good."
He also reported being surprised at the mainstream media's reaction to the scandal, but understood given the world we currently live in, his response reaction. "I was surprised with the mainstream media's reaction. I think it's also that the times have changed as well. The 24-hour news, you're looking for any kind of news to get out there and I know a lot of my friends are in here (the press room), I haven't talked to them, but I've read their articles. Of course, they are critical of me. They should. What I have done is wrong."
Woods also addressed what it was like inside his treatment facility and how the process of getting better never ends. "I was in there for 45 days to take a hard look at myself and I did. I've come out better, a much better person for it. Does that mean I'm goint to stop doing that (looking at myself)...no. I have to still continue with my treatment," Woods said. "That will not stop."
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