Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Tiger Woods: I believed I could get away with it; I was wrong

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Reporters listen as Golfer Tiger Woods makes a statement
Reporters listen as Tiger Woods makes a statement from the Sunset Room on the second floor of the TPC Sawgrass
The radio show MJ Morning show personalities Victory Martin (L) and Meredith Walusek stand near one of the entrances to where golfer Tiger Woods plans on making a statement at TPC Sawgrass on February 19, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Tiger Woods (R) jogs with an unidentified friend near his home on February 17, 2010 in Orlando, Florida
Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James)
Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels, right, (aka Joslyn James)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, appears at a press conference at the offices of attorney Gloria Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Veronica Siwik-Daniels
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred uses a golf golf cut-out to simulate how a club hitting a ball with the face of a woman could leave marks that look like bruises during a press conference with former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred uses a golf golf cut-out to simulate how a club hitting a ball with the face of a woman could leave marks that look like bruises during a press conference with former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred (R) leads former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, near a picture of a golf ball bearing the face of a woman as the leave a press conference at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred uses a golf golf cut-out to simulate how a club hitting a ball with the face of a woman could leave marks that look like bruises during a press conference with former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, takes her seat near an drawing of a golf ball with her face on it at a press conference at the offices of attorney Gloria Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods with Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods and his wife Elin
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods celebrates with wife Elin Nordegren after winning the 88th PGA Championship golf tournament
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
United States Ryder Cup team player Tiger Woods and his wife Elin leave at the end of the opening ceremony for the 2006 Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Three of the women whose names have been associated with Tiger Woods in recent weeks - Kalika Moquin (left), Rachel Uchitel (centre) and 24-year-old cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs
Holly Sampson was linked with Tiger Woods
Holly Sampson linked with Tiger Wood
Tiger Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, rides next to Woods after winning the US Open championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course
Tiger Woods
Rachel Uchitel

The newsflash that stopped the world spinning for almost 14 minutes yesterday was this: Tiger Woods has given up extra-marital sex.

“I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated,” said Woods, as American broadcast networks in the US scrambled their schedules to ensure live coverage of the event at the headquarters of the PGA tour in Florida. “I have a lot to atone for.”

In front of an audience mostly composed of family, friends, and business associates, Woods did not say when he would return to the game that made him famous. But as well as the admission that he had been a bad person was a promise that the future would be different. “It's now up to me to make amends,” he said. “And that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made.”

The volume of sales on the New York Stock Exchange dropped noticeably as traders paused to watch the golfer speak. Helicopter shots showed Woods driving away afterwards, as commentators more usually employed analysing politics gave their verdicts.

If the rush of revelations about the carnal liaisons of Mr Woods after he pranged a fire hydrant in November had verged sometimes on French farce, this, gasped George Stephanopoulos of ABC, was “one of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure”.

It was one of the oddest, for sure. Mr Woods seemed all beaten up, as well he might, discussing his serial sexcapades with his mother in front of him and his wife very notably absent: Elin may or may not end up standing by her man, but she was not there yesterday. He did not cry, but looked like he might.

He did offer news. He has been in sex rehab since the end of December and, after a brief break to see his family (and us), he will return to the clinic today. We are not likely to see him swinging an iron any time soon. “I do plan to return to golf one day, but I don't know when. I don't rule out that it will be this year.”

As he shifted his prepared pages from right to left, he had more to share, including some complaints about what the press has got wrong. He has never used performance-enhancing drugs and Elin never went after him with a nine-iron. “There have never been episodes of domestic violence in our marriage, ever,” he insisted.

Clearly, he was talking to more than one audience. He was addressing not just the media, to judge by his decision to allow only three wire reporters into his confessional chamber as more than 100 more watched on TV from a nearby hotel. He was also talking to his fellow golfing professionals, and the people, and above all, Elin. So he wanted us to know she had responded to their crisis with “grace and poise”. “What I did was unacceptable and I am the only person to blame,” he said. “My real apology to her will not come in form of words, it will come with my behaviour over time. We have a lot to discuss. However, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.” Will they part? He was not saying.

Indeed, there was much that Woods did not say and will not say, if he can help it. He did not allow questions because he knows what would come. How many women was it exactly, Tiger? When did it start? Have you fathered children out of wedlock?

Woods did, however, allude to a general state of mind that, he says, led him to such recklessness. “I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply,” he said. “I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have far” — his speech broke for a moment — “didn't have to go far to find them.”

Apparently, Buddhism, the religion he grew into, will help guide him now. “Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught,” he said.

The words seemed sincere. But did it work? Probably so. Americans do not forgive their politicians quickly. But the hill to forgiveness is usually less steep for celebrities, especially sporting stars.

Certainly, he demonstrated that in 14 minutes it is possible say sorry and express remorse and contrition in many ways. “I recognise I have brought this on myself; Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your hearts to one day believe in me again ... I was wrong. I was foolish ... I know I have severely disappointed all of you.”

But did it work? Probably so. Americans do not forgive their politicians quickly for going off the rails. But the hill to forgiveness is usually less steep for celebrities, especially sporting stars.

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