Tiger Woods Announces 'Indefinite Break' From Golf

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Tiger Woods announced Friday that he was taking an indefinite break from professional golf. In a statement on his Web site, the world's No. 1 golfer said that the decision followed "much soul searching." Woods has been the focus of much gossip since tabloid revelations about his marital infidelity.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

We won't be seeing Tiger Woods at a professional golf tournament any time soon. He's taking an indefinite break from the sport, that's the news out late today.

NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman is with us with the news on this. Tiger broke this new in a statement on his Web site. What did he say, Tom?

TOM GOLDMAN: Michelle, this is exactly what he said - a four-paragraph statement - and it starts this way: I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done but I want to do my best to try. I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour and my fellow competitors for their understanding.

What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy and safe haven we will need for personal healing. After much soul-searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person. Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

NORRIS: Tom, aside from his departure from golf, there's another big piece of news in there. Tiger Woods uses the word infidelity.

GOLDMAN: Yes. He certainly does. And that is the most - you know, after saying that he's leaving the tour, that is the thing that stands out, certainly a lot more explicit than transgressions, which is what he said in his first statement. And, you know, Michele, the sheer momentum of the scandal, the daily sordid tabloid revelations about all the different women he allegedly slept with, it really begged for something stronger than that initial statement. And today, his words are a lot stronger, certainly more direct into the point.

Now, it's short of a public appearance, which a lot of people would still like to see, which you can see happening at some point - maybe an Oprah appearance, a Barbara Walters appearance, perhaps. But this was a pretty big step.

NORRIS: What does this mean for his long-term viability as a public figure, as a salesman of everything from sports drinks to cars and also for the PGA?

GOLDMAN: Well, certainly, as far as the first part of that, you know, it means he's got a heck of a lot better chance to reclaim that viability once he returns to public life, you know, although it's questionable whether he can reclaim all of it. That future viability was always based on Tiger Wood's not continuing the behavior that's gotten him in trouble here. And his words, at least, seem to indicate that he understands the seriousness of what's happened within his family.

And I think it's also probably comforting to his many fans who've been ricked by the scandal, who really believe in his closeness to Elin, his wife, and his two young children. And this is again confirmation in his words that this closest to something he values.

This is a seriousness and dedication he has to portray if he ever hopes to regain the trust of, you know, first his family and second the millions who will potentially buy Tiger Wood's endorsed products going forward.

NORRIS: That's NPR's Tom Goldman speaking to us about Tiger Wood's decision today to take an indefinite break from the sport of golf.

Tom, thank you very much.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

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