Tiger Woods gives brief interviews, says he 'was living a life of a lie'

Tiger Woods speaks with ESPN about the sex scandal, his rehab and his return to golf.
By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 22, 2010

Tiger Woods granted a pair of interviews to national broadcast outlets Sunday, saying that he "was living a life of a lie" and that his behavior was "disgusting" in the first sessions in which he answered questions from reporters about his marital infidelity that drove him to take a leave of absence from professional golf.

"A lot of ugly things have happened," Woods told ESPN. "Things that have . . . I've done some pretty bad things in my life. And, uh, [they] all came to a head. But now, after treatment, going for in-patient treatment for 45 days and more outpatient treatment, I'm getting back to my old roots."

Woods appeared composed as he spoke to ESPN's Tom Rinaldi and the Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman near his Windermere, Fla., home, the site of his Thanksgiving-night, single-car accident that led to revelations of apparently rampant infidelity. No questions were off limits, the outlets said, but the sessions were limited to five or six minutes.

Woods didn't provide details on what happened between him and his wife, Elin, that night at their home -- "It's all in the police report," he said -- and provided few details on the future of his marriage. He also did not characterize the type of treatment he received, though he said on ESPN: "It was really tough to look at yourself in a light you never want to look at yourself. That's pretty brutal."

"I was living a life of a lie," Woods said on ESPN. "I really was. And I was doing a lot of things, like I said, that hurt a lot of people. And stripping away denial and rationalization, you start coming to the truth of who you really are, and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it and you start conquering it and you start living up to it, the strength that I feel now . . . I've never felt that type of strength."

Woods's interviews were held five days after he announced he would return to competitive golf April 8 at the Masters and more than a month after he spoke publicly for the first time since details of his personal life became public. He said he previously could not cease the behavior that has cost him a once-impeccable reputation. "I tried to stop and I couldn't stop," Woods said on the Golf Channel. "And it was just -- it was horrific."

It was also revealed during the Golf Channel's coverage that former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer is no longer working as a consultant to Woods.

Woods, 34, said he was "a little nervous" about the reception he'll receive from fans at the Masters, and that he didn't know what his upcoming schedule would be. But he said he understood why he has become something of a national punch line.

"I'm the one who did those things, and looking back on it now, with a more clear head, I get it," Woods said on the Golf Channel. "I can understand why people would say those things, because you know what? It was disgusting behavior."

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