• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Tiger Woods apologizes for 'selfish' behavior

February 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Tiger Woods apologized Friday for his selfish behavior during a public statement at Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Woods said he was returning to therapy, where he had been for 45 days, and was unsure when he would return to professional golf."I was wrong, I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules," said Woods. "I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me."

After he crashed his SUV outside his Florida home on November 27, there were numerous tabloid stories, and a number of women came forward who claimed they had affairs with the golfer. The golf star has admitted to being unfaithful to his wife Elin. Elin was not present at the event.

"As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time," Woods said.

In a nearly 15-minute speech, Woods said he was going to start living a life of integrity. Woods gave a special apology to families who pointed to him as a role model.

"Character and decency are what really count," he said.

Woods spoke from the clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass in Florida, home of the PGA Tour, in front of a crowd of about 40 people.

Woods took a break from the game so he could deal with his personal problems and try to save his marriage. He has been in in-patient therapy since December and said he planned to return for more therapy. He said he plans to return to golf, but did not say when.

"I don't rule out it will be this year," he said.

Woods used the event to dispel rumors floating around tabloids, including that Elin attacked him the night of the crash and that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

"This is completely and utterly false," he said.

Friday's event was tightly controlled, with only a few journalists allowed to watch Woods live. The televised confession became a major television event with the networks breaking in to show it.

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 winning 71 times 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 endorsement contracts with him, and Woods has become the butt of jokes on everything from late-night television shows to Disney performances.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.