Tiger Woods finally broke his silence yesterday — but still offered no indication as to when he will make his golfing comeback.
The world number one had gone to ground since November amid a series of allegations surrounding his private life, with Woods admitting publicly for the first time yesterday that he had cheated on his wife, Elin.
Woods fought back tears and looked emotionally drained as he gave a lengthy statement to an invited audience of friends, family and colleagues at the US PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.
During his address, the 14-time Major winner said he would return to the fairways but didn’t state when that would be.
The Masters are a little over a month away but given Woods’ clearly fragile mental state yesterday, it would appear that his comeback could be well beyond that Augusta showpiece.
“I do plan to return to golf one day,” he said. “I just don't know when that day will be.
“I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return I need to make my behaviour more respectful to the game.”
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell was shocked by Woods’ appearance and said he felt that the 34-year-old (pictured) will be a different player than the all-conquering hero he was before his affairs came to light.
“He seemed very humbled, I'd never seen him look so depressed about things,” said McDowell. “We're going to notice a difference when we see him back on the golf course.”
US PGA Tour chief Tim Finchem admitted that Woods staying out of golf is bound to have repercussions for the sport.
“He does increase significantly the number of people that watch on television and that plays into
our long-term relationship with our television partners and the value of television rights,” said Finchem.