NewsMarch 20, 2010

Woods: “I Was Living…A Lie“

Tiger Woods answers questions for the first time since scandal

Tiger Woods hadn't answered questions until Sunday night about his infidelity.

Tiger Woods hadn't answered questions until Sunday night about his infidelity.

A contrite Tiger Woods took questions from reporters in two separate interviews on Sunday, acknowledging that his public image differed drastically from a private life of marital misconduct.

"I was living a life of a lie, I really was," Woods told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi, in an interview that aired Sunday evening. "And I was doing a lot of things ... that hurt a lot of people. And stripping away denial and rationalization 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.

After announcing that he would end his extended hiatus from competitive golf at the Masters in two weeks, Woods conducted separate interviews with ESPN and Golf Channel at Isleworth, the golf club near his home on Windermere, Fla. While neither outlet was restricted on questions, both were given a five-minute time limit.

While declining to answer questions about the specifics of the Nov. 27 auto accident that triggered the series of revelations about Woods' extramarital affairs, Woods did admit to damaging his relationship with everyone from his wife to sponsors to fans. In both private and family counseling, Woods said, "It was really tough to look at yourself in a light you never want to look at yourself, that's pretty brutal."

"I hurt a lot of people, not just my wife," he told Rinaldi on Sunday. "My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my actions were not according to that. That's why I had to apologize. I was so sorry for what I had done."

In his Golf Channel interview with Kelly Tilghman, Woods denied that members of his inner circle were complicit in arranging his affairs.

"It was all me. I'm the one who did it. I'm the one who acted the way I acted. No one knew what was going on when it was going on," Woods said. "I'm sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it or tried to put a stop to it. But I kept it all to myself."

Following the interview, Tilghman reported that Ari Fleischer, the one-time White House spokesman for George W. Bush, had withdrawn his services as a public-relation consultant to Woods because he had become too much of a distraction.

Woods has not competed since winning the Australian Masters last November. He said he didn't know what to expect when he returns at Augusta National, where he has won four green jackets.

"I'm a little nervous about that to be honest with you," Woods told ESPN. "It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there."