Feb 19, 2010 12:02 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Tiger Woods publicly apologized on Friday for his infidelity to his wife, Elin, saying he was "deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior."
"I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was not acceptable and I am the only person to blame," Woods said at his first public appearance since admitting he cheated on his wife and announcing in December he was taking an indefinite break from golf.
"I brought this shame on myself."
He 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, speaking to reporters at the headquarters of the U.S. PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Woods said he will return soon to the clinic where he has been undergoing therapy.
Woods' first public appearance in three months shaped up as a national event.
Tight security restricted access on the road that leads to the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, where Woods he spoke.
Networks reworked their programming and, by late Thursday afternoon, seven satellite trucks had already parked outside the Sawgrass Marriott. The parking lot last saw this kind of activity five years ago - for media day at the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Everyone else will congregate at the Sawgrass Marriott to watch on short circuit. The adjacent ballrooms looked ready to hold a Super Bowl party, with flat-screen TVs along the walls and a large video screen in the center of the room.
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, invited three reporters from wire services - The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg - to congregate at the Sawgrass Marriott to watch on short circuit. He also he turned to the Golf Writers Association of America to come up with a pool of three reporters. However, the GWAA board of directors voted overwhelming Thursday not to participate, turning down a negotiated offer to increase the number of pool reporters to six.
"I cannot stress how strongly our board felt that this should be open to all media and also for the opportunity to question Woods," said Vartan Kupelian, president of the 950-member group. "The position, simply put, is all or none. This is a major story of international scope. To limit the ability of journalists to attend, listen, see and question Woods goes against the grain of everything we believe."
The GWAA said it believes strongly that its presence, without the ability to ask question, would have given credibility to an event that isn't worthy of it. Nineteen board members voted for the proposal to protest by boycotting the proceedings. There were four votes against the proposal and three abstentions.
Woods has always been about control, even in better times. He refused to go into the media center before a PGA Tour event if he was not the defending champion. If he agreed to a 10-minute interview to pitch a product he endorses, it was common for a company employee to be in the room making sure it didn't go one second beyond that.
Conversation raged online before the statement, as many took glee in speculating on what Woods will say Friday.
One of the most popular threads on Twitter carried the tag "tigershouldsay." Suggestions were predominantly sarcastic, such as: "At least I didn't use steroids."
The PGA Tour has two tournaments in progress Friday, including the third round of the Accenture Match Play Championship, the first title sponsor to drop Woods during this sex scandal. Some players did not think it was a coincidence.