MIAMI (Reuters) - Looking jaded and despondent, Tiger Woods finally faced questions on Sunday about the sex scandal that turned him from the biggest brand in sport to the disgraced target of hundreds of jokes.
”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.
“I can understand why people will say these things because you know what, it was disgusting behaviour. As a person, it’s hard to believe that was me, looking back on it now.”
In separate five minute interviews with the Golf Channel and ESPN, broadcast simultaneously after surprisingly little advance promotion, Woods gave away little new information but was strong in condemnation of what he called his “disgusting behaviour”.
Woods’ only previous comments on his admitted infidelities have come in the form of written statements and his ‘no questions’ televised apology last month.
But having announced he is to return to golf at the U.S Masters next month, the world number one, decided to give the two U.S sports channels a chance to put him on the spot at his golf club in Isleworth, near Orlando.
Woods made frequent reference to the treatment he is receiving but declined to confirm exactly what kind of rehabilitation he is undergoing, saying that it was “private”.
He was also tightlipped about the details of the car accident on Nov. 27, 2009 that began the media frenzy around his marriage.
“It’s all in the police report,” he said. “Beyond that, everything’s between Elin and myself and that’s private.”
Asked to define the state of his marriage to his Swedish wife, Woods said that too was private.
“We’re working on it and it’s a process that will remain private between her and I,” he said.
But he was more expansive when asked to discuss how his late father Earl would have reacted to his behaviour.
”He’d be very disappointed in me. We’d have numerous long talks. That’s one of the things I miss, I miss his guidance, I wish I could have had his guidance through all this to have him help straighten me up. I know he would’ve done it.
”I can’t say on air (what he would have said) but he would’ve been very direct. Basically (he’d say), you need to get your life headed in the right direction again.
”I was living a life of a lie, I really was. And I was doing a lot of things that hurt a lot of people. And 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,” he said.
Woods did not discuss details about his affairs, he was not asked about any of the women he has been linked with, but said that: “just one is enough and obviously that wasn’t the case”.
Given his frequent references to privacy, Woods was asked why he chose to make a public apology.
“I hurt a lot of people, not just my wife. My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me.”
Woods added the rehabilitation treatment had been a difficult experience.
“It was really tough to look at yourself in a light you never want to look at yourself, that’s pretty brutal.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org