‘I quit being a Buddhist and my life changed upside down’
Tiger Woods has claimed that his life had become a "lie" prior to the series of revelations about his private life that forced him to take time out from golf.
Woods, giving his first interview since the November car crash outside his home that led to his much-publicised problems becoming public, said he did not like the person he had become prior to entering rehabilitation.
"I was living a life of a lie, I really was. And I was doing a lot of things, like I said, that hurt a lot of people," said the world No 1.
"Stripping away denial and rationalisation, you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly."
The 34-year-old also attributed his fall from grace to his detachment from his Buddhist beliefs.
"Going against your core values, losing sight of it," he said when asked how he lost control of his life. "I quit meditating, I quit being a Buddhist, and my life changed upside down.
"I felt entitled, which I had never felt before. Consequently, I hurt so many people by my own reckless attitude and behaviour.
"I quit doing all the things that my mum and dad had taught me. I felt entitled, and that is not how I was raised."
Although dressed in typically conservative fashion, Woods also wore a thin Buddhist bracelet, which he showed to 'The Golf Channel' viewers and said he would be wearing it when he returns to golf at the US Masters next month.
"It's Buddhist, it's for protection and strength and I certainly need that," he said, adding that he began wearing the bracelet before he went into rehabilitation and that he intends to wear it for ever.
Woods, who hasn't played competitive golf since he won the Australian Masters last November, admitted he has had a hard time coming to terms with his indiscretion.
"I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become," he said. "It was tough, it was really tough to look at yourself in a light that you never want to look at yourself, that's pretty brutal.
"A lot has transpired in my life. A lot of ugly things have happened. I've done some pretty bad things in my life.
"But now, after treatment, going for inpatient treatment for 45 days and more outpatient treatment, I'm getting back to my old roots."
The 14-time major winner will make his comeback at Augusta on April 8, and is concerned by the possible reception he might receive.
Asked what he expected from the crowd, Woods told ESPN: "I don't know. I don't know. I'm a little nervous about that to be honest with you. It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there. But I also hope they clap for birdies, too.
"I'm excited to get back and play. I'm excited to get to see the guys again. I really miss a lot of my friends out there. I miss competing."
Woods was hesitant when it came to discussing his affairs, saying: "Well, just one is enough. And obviously that wasn't the case, and I've made my mistakes.
"There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my actions were not according to that. That's why I had to apologise. I was so sorry for what I had done."
- Steve Williams will be on Woods' bag when the world No 1 makes his long-awaited return at the Masters. There had been speculation the New Zealander was about to be sacked after declaring he would have "blown the whistle" on Woods if he had known about his extra-marital affairs.