Tiger Woods Will Return to Golf, but Not Sure When
Tiger Woods told his family, friends and fans that he plans to return to golf one day, but that he is not sure when that will be. He said he would not rule out his return being this year.
Speaking from the clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour, Woods said he is "deeply sorry" for his selfish and irresponsible behavior, admitting he felt he "deserved to enjoy the temptations" that came with his fabulous success.
"I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable," said Woods, looking composed and speaking in a steady voice.
"I brought this shame on myself," he said.
Several of Woods' remaining sponsors showed the embattled golfer support after his statement.
"Tiger has apologized and made his position clear," a Nike spokesperson told CNBC. "Nike fully supports him and his family. We look forward to him returning to golf.
Michael Norton, a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble'sGillette told CNBC, "Tiger spoke today and addressed the issues he felt were most important. His words stand on their own. We wish him and his family the best."
Electronic Arts told Reuters, "We look forward to seeing Tiger back on the golf course when the time is right for him and his family."
Woods defended his wife and denied media speculation that there had been physical violence between the couple. The speculation arose after a bizarre minor car accident in November outside Woods' Florida home in the middle of the night.
"Elin never hit me that night, or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence (in our family)..." Woods said.
Woods said he already has spent 45 days in therapy, and that he will return to the unnamed treatment center on Saturday.
"I have a long way to go," he said.
Woods spoke for about 13 minutes. About 40 people were in the room, including his mother. He hugged her when he finished speaking, and 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," she said.
His wife, Elin, was not present.
In Sweden, Elin's father, Thomas Nordegren, said he saw Woods' confession.
"I watched it but I have nothing to say right now," Nordegren told The Associated Press.
Elin's mother, Barbro Holmberg, declined to comment on Woods' apology, through her spokeswoman.
The world's No. 1 golfer had not talked in public since his traffic accident Nov. 27 triggered shocking revelations about Woods' infidelity.
Friday's event was tightly controlled, with only a few journalists allowed to watch Woods live.
No other PGA Tour player could command this kind of attention.
Woods is one of the most recognized athletes in the world. Television ratings double when he is in contention, which has happened a lot on his way to 71 wins on the PGA Tour and 14 majors — four short of the record held by Jack Nicklaus.
And no other athlete had such a spectacular fall. Accenture and AT&T have ended their endorsement contracts with him, and Woods has become the butt of jokes on everything from late shows to Disney performances.
Woods' statement came during the Match Play Championship, sponsored by Accenture.
Ernie Els was among players who were upset to learn that Woods had chosen the week of a World Golf Championship for a public appearance that was sure to take attention away from the tournament. "It's selfish," Els told Golfweek magazine.
—CNBC's Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell and Reuters contributed to this report