Saturday 24 February 2018

Tiger Woods first interview: 'I could not stop my disgusting behaviour'

In February Tiger Woods publicly admitted to cheating on his wife Elin Nordegren. Photo: Getty Images
In February Tiger Woods publicly admitted to cheating on his wife Elin Nordegren. Photo: Getty Images
Porn star Veronica Siwik-Daniels (Joslyn James) (L) and attorney Gloria Allred react during the Tiger Woods' press conference. Photo: Getty Images
Tiger Woods holds his daugher, Sam, and stands next to his wife, Elin in November before the alleged affairs came to light. Photo: Getty Images

Murray Wardrop

Tiger Woods, the disgraced golfer, has claimed that he could not stop the "disgusting" behaviour that led him to repeatedly cheat on his wife.

Interviewed for the first time since the scandal surrounding his private life, he said he was "nervous" about making his comeback to golf next month.

Woods, 34, said he had been “living a lie” prior to his confessions of infidelity and that he could not now believe that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Elin.

He admitted that during four of months of therapy following the scandal, discovering the truth about himself had been “ugly”.

Woods, the world number one, has not played since crashing his car on November 27 and admitting several extramarital affairs.

He will return to the sport at the US Masters on April 8 after four months of self-imposed exile.

Asked about the likely reception from fans, Woods said: "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 also hope they clap for birdies, too."

Referring to his infidelity, he said: “I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop, it was horrific. It was disgusting behaviour.

Woods added: “(Elin was) hurt, very hurt, shocked, angry. And, you know, she had every right to be and I'm as disappointed as everyone else in my own behaviour because I can't believe I actually did that to the people I loved.

"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.”

Woods made the comments in interviews with ESPN and The Golf Channel, which come five weeks after he made a carefully-staged televised statement about his dramatic fall from grace.

A string of women – including a porn actress and cocktail waitress – have come forward and claimed they had relationships with him.

He did not discuss details about his affairs but said that "just one is enough and obviously that wasn't the case".

The champion declined to say exactly what happened in the lead up to his car crash on November 27, which saw him collide with a fire hydrant outside his Florida mansion and suffer facial injuries.

There is speculation he clashed with Elin, a former swimwear model and mother of the couple's two young children.

He said of the incident: "Well, it's all in the police report. Beyond that, everything's between Elin and myself and that's private."

Asked why he lost control of the car, Woods replied: "As I said ... that's between Elin and myself."

Woods, who has been in therapy for nearly half of the past four months, said of his eagerly-awaited return: "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. But still, I still have a lot more treatment to do, and just because I'm playing, doesn't mean I'm going to stop going to treatment."

He also talked of the "brutal" moments when he levelled with Elin and mother Kultida.

The sportsman – famed for his privacy – conceded the world knew him "a lot better now".

Speaking about his therapy, at a Mississippi clinic specialising in sex addiction, Woods added: "Stripping away denial and rationalisation 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 last tournament appearance was on November 15 – when he won the Australian Masters.

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