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Tiger's mea culpa

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In his first public statement since allegations of infidelity arose in November,Tiger Woods issued a public apology from PGA Tour headquarters on Friday. "I owe it to my family to become a better person," Woods said. "I do plan to return to golf one day."

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 19, 2010; 12:42 PM

Well, he looked sorry.

He appeared shell-shocked and humbled.

Tiger Woods took no questions Friday morning, and that was a mistake, prompting golf writers to boycott the stage-managed event. But however practiced it may have been, Tiger seemed highly emotional in seeking the public's forgiveness.

If only he had done this a couple of months ago, instead of hiding from the cameras.

He used some therapy-speak, talking about trying to "regain my balance" and "be centered." But he is still in therapy, and said he returns to rehab Saturday.

It was certainly a strongly written apology, whoever wrote it. He was "sorry," he had caused "pain," he was "embarrassed," he "let down my fans," he had "affairs," he "cheated," he felt "entitled." This was no passive, mistakes-were-made speech.

Tiger took plenty of whacks at the press. No one likes the press these days, but that seemed out of place.

First, he said his wife, Elin -- who was conspicuously absent -- never attacked or hurt him on the night of the fateful car crash. "It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that," Tiger said. But there was media speculation precisely because he had never addressed it before, until now.

Tiger also railed at those who he says followed his 2 1/2 -year-old daughter to school and staked out his wife and mother. "Please leave my wife and kids alone," he declared. Following kids is despicable, but come on, that's a few paparazzi. The mainstream media don't do that.

He said he understands the press wants "details and times that I was unfaithful," but decreed that a matter between him and his wife. That's fine, everyone in public life wants a zone of privacy, but it's not going to stop the stories.

Tiger also said he had fallen away from Buddhism but was once again embracing it during this crisis. Brit Hume, take note.

I thought he'd announce he was returning to golf soon; he was ambiguous about the timing. Maybe he wants to see how the apology goes over. He alienated the press by not holding a real news conference, but maybe he'll score points for appearing contrite.


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