Tiger Woods To Offer First Public Comments

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Golfer Tiger Woods is expected to make his first public appearance in nearly three months. He last was seen when his car crashed outside his home in Florida over the Thanksgiving holiday. The accident sparked sordid revelations that he had had extramarital affairs.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Tiger Woods acknowledged the obvious today.

Mr. TIGER WOODS (Professional Golfer): I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.

INSKEEP: The pro golfer spoke this hour at TPC Sawgrass, which is the Florida headquarters of the PGA tour. NPR's Mike Pesca is covering the story from Florida. He's on the line.

Hi, Mike.

MIKE PESCA: Hi.

INSKEEP: I suppose people were watching and listening, not just for what Tiger Woods would say, but how he would say it.

PESCA: Right. Because there was so much, of course, scrutiny with this, which could be one of the bigger media events in the sporting world this year, even though it was nothing to do with what actually what happens in sports. And what Tiger said today was pretty much what he has been writing - or at least, his people have been putting forth in a couple of statements that have been issued on his Web site. But he said it in front of a camera, a single camera with three wire service reporters in the room. And the room that he spoke in at this golf - at the clubhouse of this golf course was filled with family members or associates. It wasn't clear who. It was clear that his mother was there.

As far as offering anything of substance that was different from what he said, I would say he apologized to more people specifically, including his sponsors and people involved in his foundation. And he did touch upon the subject of his motivation, why he had affairs and did the wrong things that he did. And here's a little bit of that.

Mr. WOODS: 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.

PESCA: And Tiger did talk about his wife, Elin, but Elin Woods wasn't in the room of the - Elin, with his mother-in-law, didn't seem to be in the room, but Tiger Woods' mom was in the room. And after the speech, he went right over to her, and they had a long hug. And then he hugged a few other people who were in the room - who were not easily identifiable.

INSKEEP: So this is a personal drama being played out in public. It's also, of course, a professional drama, Mike Pesca, because although it doesn't directly involve a sporting event, it raises the question of when Tiger Woods wants to return to playing golf.

PESCA: And he addressed that. He said: I do not rule out a return to golf this year. And some people were saying maybe he would announce: I will be at one of the upcoming events. Maybe he would announce, people thought: I'll be at the Masters, which is the first major event of the year. He didn't do that. He didn't offer much of substance. He said things - he referred to the fact that he was in therapy. He didn't say what kind of therapy. But he did talk about this being a part of the therapeutic process.

INSKEEP: And I suppose if he had said, you know, OK, I'm making this apology, I'm moving on, I'll be at a tournament next week, it might not have seemed as sincere as he's hoping it will seem.

PESCA: Yeah. And I think most of what he says was pitched at trying to achieve sincerity. And it's not for us to say if he was or wasn't sincere, but there were little touches. Like, Tiger Woods always wears red, his power color, on the last day of a tournament. But today, all the hues were blue. So he was wearing a blue blazer and a light-blue shirt, and a blue curtain was behind him. And I think that - I mean, politicians will tell you when they wear a blue tie, it's to convey calm. And I think that's maybe what he was trying to do. And he did speak to the media and talked a little bit about media frenzy and said: Leave my 2-and-a-half-year-old alone. But if nothing else, this is a necessary step on his rehabilitation, or at least just him returning to be a golfer. Who knows if he'll ever be a sports media property worth millions and millions of dollars? But he just wants to win tournaments at this point.

INSKEEP: Mike, thanks very much.

PESCA: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Mike Pesca, giving us the latest on Tiger Woods, who apologized today before a television camera at TPC Sawgrass, the PGA headquarters in Florida.

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