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Tiger Woods statement: I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated

Golf star Tiger Woods fought back tears as he issued a frank apology for cheating on his wife Elin. In a statement he said: "I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was unacceptable."

The world number one, speaking for the first time in public about his affairs, gave a lengthy statement to an invited audience of friends, family and colleagues at the US PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.

At a press conference in Florida, Woods said: "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."

Woods, who confirmed he has been in therapy since December, said: "I want to say to each of you simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behaviour.

"It is hard to admit that I need help but I do.

"For 45 days since the end of December to early February I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I am facing.

"I have a long way to go but have taken the first steps in the right direction."

Woods said he did not rule out returning to golf this year, but said he did not yet have a date and he added that he would be returning for further therapy tomorrow.

"I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that day will be."

Woods was injured on November 27 of last year when he crashed his car into a fire hydrant and a tree near his Florida home.

Two days later he released a statement in which he said the issue involved was "private ... and I want to keep it that way".

After missing his own tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, he released a statement amid persistent allegations over extra-marital affairs.

A statement to his website at the time read: "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart."

Amid continued allegations of affairs, Woods saw several high-profile sponsors announce they were ending their links with him.

A further statement in which admitted his "infidelity" followed but this month speculation of his return to golf heightened ahead of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

On Tuesday it was announced Woods would make a statement today but the timing - during a tournament backed by one of his former sponsors - was criticised by several leading figures in the game.

Woods' statements on his website when the speculation about his private life first became public were somewhat cryptic but he was explicit about his failings today.

"I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated," he said. "What I did is not acceptable and I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values I was taught to believe in.

"I knew my actions were wrong but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting, instead I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries 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 to go far to find them. I was wrong and I was foolish."

The 14-time major winner claimed therapy had helped him start to deal with his problems and vowed there would be no repeat of his infidelities.

"I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done," he continued. "My failures have made me look at myself in a way I've never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends. And that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made.

"It's up to me to start living a life of integrity. It's hard to admit that I need help but I do. For 45 days from the end of December to early February I was in in-patient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. I have taken my first steps in the right direction."

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