Woods: ‘I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted’ (Updated with video)

Tiger Woods appeared contrite during his 13-minute statement Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP photo)

Tiger Woods appeared contrite during his 13-minute statement Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP photo)

In the strangest of settings, Tiger Woods gave a 13-minute, nationally televised public confession Friday morning before mostly friends and family members at a Florida country club, admitting to having several affairs and at one point saying, “I have a lot to atone for.”

Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, did not appear to be present for Woods’ statement, after which he took no questions from the few media members who were allowed in the room at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

“I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior that I’ve been involved in,” Woods said early in the statement. And that pretty much set the tone for his first public statement since a sex scandal broke in November Friday before a roomful of mostly friends and supporters near his home in Windemere, Fla.

Woods appeared emotional, speaking slowly as he read from a prepared statement. Immediately afterward, he hugged his mother, Kutilda Woods, who was sitting in the front row. According to the AP, she whispered in his ear: “I said ‘I’m so proud of you. Never think you stand alone. Mom will always be there for you and I love you.”

Woods said he did not know when he will return to golf, but did not rule out playing on the PGA Tour in 2010. There has been only speculation that Woods plans to play in at the Masters at Augusta National April 8-11.

“I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I’m embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for.”

Woods also denied media reports that Elin ever attacked him, commenting: “Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame. The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs, I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame.

Woods admitted attending a 45-day therapy session, presumably for a sex addiction, “to receive guidance for the issues I am facing.” He said he plans to return to therapy Saturday, acknowledging, “I have a long way to go.

“I convinced myself normal rules didn’t apply. I thought about only myself. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to do. I wanted to enjoy all of the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled.”

Woods apologized to his wife, family and friends.

My initial thoughts are that Woods appeared contrite, even if well-rehearsed. I would’ve liked to see him answer questions but he reiterated that that’s a matter between he and his wife.

What are you thoughts of his comments? Do you believe the statement is satisfactory and do you believe Woods was being genuine?

Here’s video of Woods’ statement:

Here is a transcript of Woods’ statement:

Good morning, and thank you for joining me.

Many of you in this room are my friends. Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me, you worked with me, or you supported me. Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.

I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife, Elin, and to my children. And while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say.

Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior. As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time. We have a lot to discuss. However, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.

I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down. And I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners, to everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and most importantly, the young students we reach. Our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Center students in Southern California to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.

But still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I’m embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for.

But there’s one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame. The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs, I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame.

I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. 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. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have far – I didn’t have to go far to find them. I was wrong, I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife’s family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I’ve done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It’s now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I’ve made. It’s up to me to start living a life of integrity.

I once heard, and I believe it’s true, it’s not what you achieve in life that matters; it’s what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count. Parents used to point at me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.

It’s hard to admit that I need help, but I do. For 45 days, from the end of December to early February, I was in in-patient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I’m facing. I have a long way to go. But I’ve taken my first steps in the right direction.

As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants me to – wants to ask me for the details of the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I’m concerned, every one of these questions, and answers, is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.

Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false.

Some have written things about my family. Despite the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight. They did not do these things; I did. I have always tried to maintain a private space for my wife and children. They have been kept separate from my sponsors, from my commercial endorsements. When my children were born, we only released photographs so that the paparazzi could not chase them. However, my behavior doesn’t make it right for the media to follow my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to school and report the school’s location. They staked out my wife and they pursued my mom. Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family: Please leave my wife and kids alone.

I recognize I have brought this on myself, and I know, above all, I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That’s where my focus will be. I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it.

Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a creation of things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.

As I move forward, I will continue to receive help because I’ve learned that’s how people really do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy. I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I’m making these remarks today. In therapy, I’ve learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered, so I can say the things that are most important to me: My marriage and my children. That also means relying on others for help. I learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope someday to return that support to others who are seeking help.

I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.

In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of e-mails, letters and phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me. I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner Finchem, and the players for their patience and understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the course.

Finally, there are many people in this room, and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.

Thank you.

302 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

February 19th, 2010
11:29 am

Nice speech even though it wasn’t needed. This should be between him and his family. The media have been scumbags during this.

Blue

February 19th, 2010
11:30 am

Tiger is a moron.
First

Cammi317

February 19th, 2010
11:30 am

I REPEAT….Who the in the heck was so distraught that Tiger cheated that they felt like they needed an apology? I am sick to death of hearing about this. He’s a freaking golfer, not an elected official taking exotic trips with tax payer dollars. The only news worthy portion of the entire ordeal was when his wife attempted to beat him to death with his own golf clubs! NOW THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT.

Hold that Tiger

February 19th, 2010
11:30 am

Good lord, Jeff. Why on earth does Tiger have to control the situation? This is his personal life and he seems to be handling it as anyone of us would in the same situation. He owes us nothing. NOTHING. It’s his family that he has to answer to. He has been in treatment for months and appears to be taking this very seriously so that he can save his family and save himself. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. He has the right to not answer questions about this matter. The only one who deserves to ask questions is Elin.

We are all lucky to have witnessed greatness over his career and the tour has blossomed since he joined it. But work and personal should be separate at all times. He has suffered because of the suffering he caused. That the man is trying to save himself is a testament to who he is. You should let him be. We all should. I forgive him as a fan because I don’t care in his personal life. Because I really really doubt anyone on this board or the writer of this column would be able to stand up to the scrutiny he is always under. You would crack like warm sheet of ice. What a bunch of hypocrites.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:30 am

The issue is not his wife, Woods said, but his “repeated irresponsible behavior, I had affairs, I have cheated. … I stopped living by the core values I was taught

Huh? His Dad ran around on his Mom the whole time when he was going up. In fact Tiger has a half brother. I would say he was living exactly by the core values he was taught. The apple did not fall far from the tree.

Trip

February 19th, 2010
11:31 am

He lied about Elin not hitting him with the golf club.

All I'm Saying Is...

February 19th, 2010
11:32 am

Scripted or not, sincere or not, he said what needed to be said (maybe not what you wanted him to say or done the way you wanted) to the people that mattered most (i.e. not the media), made some additional points (no domestic violence in my household ever, never took performance enhancing drugs), explained why this needed to be done today and agreed that he now has to walk the talk.

My advice at this point is to find something else to do with your time, folks.

I understand a plane crashed into the IRS building in Austin, TX, a lady in Atlanta was assaulted near GTech, the Winter Olympics are on, Accenture’s golf tournament is still going on, each of you probably have a friend or loved one who could use your help finding a job…you know, important things.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:32 am

Nice speech even though it wasn’t needed. This should be between him and his family. The media have been scumbags during this.

Huh? Tiger brought this on himself. Im sorry but cry me a river. When you set yourself up as the All American guy and family man and make millions of dollars off that image people have a right to know if that is real or not. It always amazes me how celebrities love the attention and the fame and fortune it brings them but when something negative happens they start screaming about privacy etc.

Give me a break.

Todd - Dacula

February 19th, 2010
11:33 am

Good apology; owed us nothing. Came accross to be very sincere and from his heart. Lets move on and respect his privacy. I feel that this wasn’t easy for him.

Tiger, take your time for the personal matters but hurry back to the game.

gdawginkalamazoo

February 19th, 2010
11:33 am

What would have happen if he had been raised a radical Islam instead of Buddist?

Tiger = scumbag

February 19th, 2010
11:33 am

Tiger is a dirtbag with no conscience. Haven’t seen anything that would change that fact.

Michael Scharff

February 19th, 2010
11:33 am

Trip, I agree. I think she was trying to beat the stew out of him, up to and including the point where she borke out the back window of the Escalade with the golf club.

Blue

February 19th, 2010
11:33 am

Not first. Peadawg…Tiger is the scum bag. As are the women who knew they were having sex with a married man. It’s NOT just between him and his family. He put his FRIENDS in very uncomfortable positions. Some of his friends knew this was going on, and then they are faced with keeping quiet because they are his friends or telling his wife because they can’t stand the weight of knowing what he is doing to her. So they say nothing…and have to sit there and deal with it. Like Tiger himself said…HE was selfish, irresponsible. The media are just doing their job…whether you like their job or not.

Mr Charlie

February 19th, 2010
11:34 am

He owes apologies, what he did was perfectly legal. Golf owes him more than he owes golf. As Ernie Els the purse was before Tiger showed up. Tiger owes golf nothing.

Michael Scharff

February 19th, 2010
11:34 am

Should have been “broke”, not “borke”…

GT '93

February 19th, 2010
11:35 am

Tiger is the man!

GT GT GT!

Go Tiger! Go Tiger! Go Tiger!

john daly

February 19th, 2010
11:35 am

NOW WILL THE WORLD BE SATISFIED!

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:35 am

And ill just say this. When you have this guys kind of money and fame and you are nailing Waffle House waitresses.

You got a big problem.

Mr Charlie

February 19th, 2010
11:36 am

I see Nikes new ad campaign.

Tiger walks into crowded area, takes the stage, shouts “I AM TIGER WOODS, ANY QUESTIONS”. after a 3 second silence he says “did’nt think so”.

gdawginkalamazoo

February 19th, 2010
11:37 am

Jeff, you have way too many blogs going on this Tiger thing this morning. Will you please pick one and stick with it?

How much hush money do you think the players on the PGA will be spending this year?

Also, on the denial of performance enhancing drugs? Was he talking about steroids or viagra? Has he been at the Hair Club for men or sex rehab?

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:37 am

Golf owes him more than he owes golf.

BS. Golf was around a long time before Tiger Woods and will be around a long time after he is gone.

Nobody is bigger than the game. Last I checked they still play basketball, even after Jordan retired.

All I'm Saying Is...

February 19th, 2010
11:38 am

“Huh? His Dad ran around on his Mom the whole time when he was going up. In fact Tiger has a half brother. I would say he was living exactly by the core values he was taught. The apple did not fall far from the tree.”

How do you know any of the above to be true, Shane? You have a lot of anger, my friend, and are tossing out comments without any proof.

Mr Charlie

February 19th, 2010
11:39 am

Shane, that is your opinion, but he is free to nail all the waffle house waitresses they want. He is tiger woods, and he can do anything he wants.

dan

February 19th, 2010
11:39 am

Couldn’t agree more Peadawg.

And I’ll take it one step further…the hell with Elin Woods! She has known about Tiger’s affairs for 3 YEARS!!! And she wasn’t afraid to go along for the BILLION DOLLAR lifestyle ride!! And now she’ll get millions of his money in a divorce settlement! Boo freakin hoo!! Let me tell ya’ll something, if my wife was worth 1 Billion dollars, and she wanted to cheat on me…as long as she loves me enough to keep me on the payroll I could deal with it. For $500 million dollars, I will find some VERY creative ways to deal with it. In this economy, Elin gets no sympathy from me.

Barf

February 19th, 2010
11:39 am

“Sex Addict” Hahahaha!!!!!! Yeahhhhh surrreeeeeeee.

BRUCE LEVINSON

February 19th, 2010
11:40 am

Tiger owes me an apology. Bwhaaaa….shut up and grow up. I hope Tiger plays the Masters. Can you imagine watching the rest of the chumps in the field…BORING…ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:40 am

How do you know any of the above to be true, Shane? You have a lot of anger, my friend, and are tossing out comments without any proof.

Dude its common knowledge.

AlphaDog

February 19th, 2010
11:42 am

Well done, Tiger! (and team) Only thing missing was Elin coming out from behind the curtain afterward. Go home, hug the kids, get back to the sham of counseling (been there, done that, paid $100/hr) and then get back to golf. You are still The Man inside the ropes and all of the wussies at the Accenture know it. BTW… who is watching this weeks tour event anyway?

Mr Charlie

February 19th, 2010
11:42 am

Shane, golf purses went up X4 since he arrived. The cost to him has been his privacy, that he has done an incredible job keeping. However, now the press sees a crack in his armor, but they can’t break through, and it pisses them off.

If golfers are so pissed about what he did, they should give away 3/4 of their earnings, because they earned it because of Tiger.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:42 am

Shane, that is your opinion, but he is free to nail all the waffle house waitresses they want. He is tiger woods, and he can do anything he wants.

Huh? Are you serious?

JSS

February 19th, 2010
11:42 am

I wonder IlliniDawg is going to go all “Huntsville” when they pull his supposed “tenure” for being anti Buddhist? As for that other one, Somebody needs stop drinking that lead based K-River water! It leads to making a fool of one’s self on a daily blogging basis! SW Michigan, home of every type of radical free range nut case this side of the Idaho border!

It is simple, either you’re going to let it go or you are not… I can care less one way or the other, but I wish Tiger and his family the best… Elin is a grown *** woman, she can take care of her own mental heath (she’s defacto rich), but there’s a portion who want a NASCAR Dale Earnhardt type of tragedy in human terms… Think about it…

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:43 am

but they can’t break through

dude they not only broke through they demolished it.

Bob Horner stayed hurt

February 19th, 2010
11:43 am

Did Tiger write the speech himself..?? Howcome he didn’t cry..?? Will he play in the Masters this year..??

All I'm Saying Is...

February 19th, 2010
11:43 am

Shane: Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, was married once before he met and married Tiger’s mom. That’s been written about and Tiger has nieces and nephews that he knows and acknowledges and knew and acknowledged while Earl was alive.

Tiger behaved recklessly, suffered (and continues to) the consequences, appears to have taken responsibility for his actions and is now saying that he will try via his actions to make things right. Like I typed, that’s that with that. We’ll see if he stays true to his intentions.

As for the rest of you spouting venom, hatred, and nasty comments on this blog—feel free to continue as that’s your right but as far as I am reading its all ‘blah, blah, blah’ and ‘yada, yada, yada’ because, at this point, we all know the details that need to be known.

Bob Didier caught here

February 19th, 2010
11:43 am

Shultz,

I live about 5 minutes from Sawgrass and the security down there was incredibly tight!! I mean this has all the theatre of a Kabuki Play.

I had read the other day that golfers currently on the course will be asked to hurry their play as to not be there while “tigers little passion play”.

Honestly?? I always thought this guy was a bit of a fake and a fraud. He is the greatest living golfer but I always suspected there was something behind the facade!

Anonymous

February 19th, 2010
11:44 am

The gutless Wonder STILL thinks the whole world revolves around him! He orchestrated a sham of a press conference at which no questions were allowed. If I were a fellow Tour member, I’d be disgusted. This morning’s “conference” was nothing more than a PR statement read aloud in front of friends & family. No wonder the ENTIRE 950 member Golf Writers Association boycotted it! he’s doing the Tour, the PGA and the game a huge disservice.

Mr Charlie

February 19th, 2010
11:44 am

Shane, yea I am serious, it he were Gay, would that be a problem? He has his sexual thing, ain’t nobodys business but Elin.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:44 am

If golfers are so pissed about what he did, they should give away 3/4 of their earnings, because they earned it because of Tiger.

No doubt Tiger made everyone on the Tour alot of money. Not sure what that has to do with this though.

leland

February 19th, 2010
11:44 am

It seems he could have discussed his various women a little e.g., which one was best, which one worst, which one, if any, worth the consequences, and so on. Or, at least, he could have offered to give an introduction to anyone interested in meeting one on them.

Matt

February 19th, 2010
11:45 am

Not impressed by this “press” conference. What a big buildup for a nothing event. Leave the man alone to deal with his Wife and family. It’s not an important news story, just blown out of perspective by the howling of the media wanting to get their pound of flesh from the guy.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:45 am

Shane, yea I am serious, it he were Gay, would that be a problem?

No.

BRUCE LEVINSON

February 19th, 2010
11:45 am

Don’t forget the PGA event in Myakoba Mexico. No one is even talking about that going on right now. Why does Accenture diss that tournament?

Dick

February 19th, 2010
11:46 am

And may I aske, who cares?

All I'm Saying Is...

February 19th, 2010
11:46 am

“Dude, its common knowledge.” — Shane, that’s the best you can do when you make disparaging comments about Earl Woods? Earl Woods is deceased, by the way, so you are such a low-life that you think its okay to speak ill of the dead? And the best you can do to justify your comment is to try and say its common knowledge? You’re disgusting and really need to get a life. Obviously you have a lot of jealousy towards Woods. Fortunately, the rest of us are human and realize people make mistakes. Time to move on people; nothing else to see here.

tim

February 19th, 2010
11:47 am

T Woods denied everything to the media when they 1st reported on his crap, and now he scolds the media for reporting “falsehoods”. Can’t have it both ways T Woods!

Tell It Like It Is

February 19th, 2010
11:47 am

Good speech and good approach. Straighten out his life then play some golf. The tour needs his presence. I hope he plays in Augusta.

Mr Charlie

February 19th, 2010
11:47 am

Shane, they broke thought, but, again, is that right? And again, that is the price he pays for bringing everything he did to golf. Golf owes him. Again, any player that thinks differently needs to donate 3/4th of thier wealth, otherwise they are hypocrites.

Just becaue he is the greatest golfer that ever played the game, does that mean he sould relent, and let the media hound is wife, mother and kids?

Neda

February 19th, 2010
11:48 am

It sounded like it was totally choreographed by some hack ad agency writer. There was no genuine apology or contrition.

Better luck next time, Tiger.

shane

February 19th, 2010
11:49 am

Shane: Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, was married once before he met and married Tiger’s mom. That’s been written about and Tiger has nieces and nephews that he knows and acknowledges and knew and acknowledged while Earl was alive.

Here you go dummy. And there are a million more just like this one.

E! Online speaks with Dina Parr, who dated Tiger Woods during high school and for one year in college. According to Parr, Woods’ father Earl had an affair with at least one woman, and Tiger “would be so upset” as a result. Woods has previously been alleged to have slept with mistress Jamie Jungers the night his father died.

Tiger In the Back Woods

February 19th, 2010
11:49 am

The mea culpa was exactly what I expected.

His wife will still leave him.