Tiger Woods gave his first interviews since his sex scandal broke March 21 to ESPN and the Golf Channel in anticipation of his April return to the golf course at The Masters.
Woods, 34, said he had been “living a lie” prior to his confessions of infidelity and that he could not now believe that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Elin, a former swimwear model and mother of the couple’s two young children (check the interview below after the jump.)
He admitted that during four of months of therapy following the scandal, discovering the truth about himself had been “ugly”.
“It was hurtful, but then again you know what, I did it,” he said. “I’m the one who did those things and looking back on it now with a more clear head, I get it,” Tiger said.
“I can understand why people will say these things because you know what, it was disgusting behavior. As a person, it’s hard to believe that was me, looking back on it now.”
Tiger Woods has not played since crashing his car on November 27 and admitting several extramarital affairs. He will return to the sport at the US Masters on April 8 after four months of self-imposed exile.
Asked about the likely reception from fans, Woods said: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m a little nervous about that to be honest with you. It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there. But also hope they clap for birdies, too.”
Referring to his infidelity, he said: “I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop, it was horrific. It was disgusting behaviour.
Woods added: “(Elin was) hurt, very hurt, shocked, angry. And, you know, she had every right to be and I’m as disappointed as everyone else in my own behaviour because I can’t believe I actually did that to the people I loved. I was living a life of a lie, I really was. And I was doing a lot of things, like I said, that hurt a lot of people.”
note: A string of women, including a porn actress and cocktail waitress, have claimed that they had relationships with him. He did not discuss details about his affairs but said that “just one is enough and obviously that wasn’t the case”.
The champion declined to say exactly what happened in the lead up to his car crash on November 27, which saw him collide with a fire hydrant outside his Florida mansion and suffer facial injuries. He said of the incident: “Well, it’s all in the police report. Beyond that, everything’s between Elin and myself and that’s private.”
Asked why he lost control of the car, Woods replied: “As I said … that’s between Elin and myself.”
Woods, who will not have played for 144 days when he goes to the 1st tee at Augusta on April 8, said: “I’m excited to get back and play. I’m excited to get to see the guys again. I really miss a lot of my friends out there. I miss competing.”
Seemingly forgotten was his toe-curling mea culpa at Sawgrass, Florida, barely four weeks ago when he implied that he might not play again this year. “I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don’t know when that day will be,” he had said.
The sportsman conceded the world knew him “a lot better now”.
Speaking about his therapy, at a Mississippi clinic specialising in sex addiction, Woods added: “Stripping away denial and rationalisation you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it and you start conquering it and you start living up to it. The strength that I feel now, I’ve never felt that type of strength.”
Woods’s last tournament appearance was on November 15 – when he won the Australian Masters.