Woods to break silence, finally
MARANA; Tiger Woods will speak publicly on Friday for the first time since his bizarre, middle-of-the-night car accident, beginning what his agent called "the process of making amends" for the sex scandal that sent him into hiding for three months.
"While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between he and his wife, he also recognises that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him," Mark Steinberg said in an e-mail on Wednesday. "He also let down his fans. He wants to begin the process of making amends and that's what he's going to discuss."
However, Steinberg said Woods will not take any questions from a small group of media. "This is not a press conference," he said. It will be Woods' first public appearance since November 27, when he crashed his SUV into a tree outside his Florida home. Woods' only comments since then have been made through his Web site. Woods is to speak at 1600 GMT on Friday from the clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home of the PGA Tour.
There was strict control over the appearance, typical of Woods' career. Steinberg described the gathering as a "small group of friends, colleagues and close associates," who will listen to Woods apology as he talks about the past and what he plans to do next.
He said three wire services have been invited — The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg — and he asked the Golf Writers Association of America to recommend pool reporters. Only one camera will be in the room to provide live coverage via satellite. Steinberg said other writers with proper credentials could watch from a hotel ballroom more than a mile away. "The first time out, he's better controlling it," fellow player Padraig Harrington said from the Match Play Championship in Arizona.
The timing is peculiar. The appearance will take place during the third round of the Arizona tournament, sure to steal attention away from the first big event of the year. The event is sponsored by Accenture, the first sponsor to drop Woods when he became embroiled in the sex scandal. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he did not think Woods' appearance was going to undermine the World Golf Championship event.
Woods had a spectacular fall from his perch atop golf. He was believed to have been the first athlete to gross $1 billion in earnings and endorsements and, at 14 majors, was closing in on golf's record of 18 majors held by Jack Nicklaus. It all collapsed in the early morning hours after the American Thanksgiving holiday. Woods admitted to "infidelity" in a statement on his Web site in mid-December and has been on an indefinite break from golf ever since.