Tiger finally gives us answers

Tiger Woods pauses as he speaks at his news conference at the Augusta National Golf Club Monday,...

Tiger Woods pauses as he speaks at his news conference at the Augusta National Golf Club Monday, April 5, 2010. (REUTERS/David J. Philip/Pool)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:54 PM ET

Tigers Woods spent more than half an hour in front of the world’s media Monday afternoon at Augusta National golf course, taking responsibility for the actions that nearly cost him his marriage, led to sponsors jumping ship and tarnished his previously squeaky-clean image.

After a brief opening statement that addressed his first round of meaningful golf since November – he played a practice round for the Masters, which starts Thursday – Woods apologized to his fellow golfers for having to “endure what they’ve had to endure” over the last few months.

It didn’t take long for questions about Woods’ accident, the ensuing revelations about his infidelity and his visit to rehab to start being thrown at the golf superstar during the 35-minute press conference.

“The way I was thinking was not correct,” Woods said. “I was rationalizing, I was denying. I lied to myself. The way I was thinking caused so much harm.

“All I know is I acted terribly. I’ve made decisions that hurt so many people close to me.”

Woods talked about how much more he appreciated the fans lining Augusta National after being away from golf and embroiled in a scandal that threatened to ruin his marriage.

“(I will) show my appreciation for them,” Woods said of his changed attitude. “I haven’t done that for the past few years and that was wrong of me. For fans to really want to seem me play golf again felt really good. I kind of took it in a little more. It felt really good.”

Although Woods appeared nervous with how proceedings with a swarm of media would go, he seemed to get more comfortable as the press conference went on.

“Sitting here, (I’m) not that nervous,” he said. “As far as getting out there (on the course), I was a lot more nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never been in this position before. But I’ve done some things that are horrible.”

Woods was asked about a variety of topics, ranging from the injuries he suffered following his Nov. 27 crash in Windermere, Fla. – five stitches in a “busted up lip and a pretty sore neck” – to reports that Ambien, a prescription sleeping aid, played a role in the accident.

“Police investigated the accident and cited me 166 bucks,” Woods said, bristling slightly when asked about the Ambien connection. “(It’s a) closed case.”

As to why he wasn’t open to a similar press event in December, when the rumours were swirling, Woods said: “I wasn’t in the right place for it. And in January I was in rehab.

“I was not in that position, not in that frame of mind (to speak openly to the media). I hadn’t hit far enough on the bottom to make myself look at what I’d done. Then I went to rehab.”

Woods is making his return to competitive golf at the Masters after a layoff of nearly five months. The four-time Masters champ will be playing in the tournament, one of four majors in golf, for the 16th time.

He played in a practice round with PGA Tour veteran Fred Couples as galleries of fans silently followed him around the golf course.

“I didn’t know what to expect with regards to reception,” Woods said. “The galleries couldn’t have been nicer. It blew me away to be quite honest. Today was something that touched my heart pretty good.”

And despite all that's gone on over the last few months, Woods believes he can win the Masters for a fifth time. His goal will be exactly the same as it has always been once the tournament starts for real on Thursday.

“Nothing’s changed,” Woods said. “I’m going to go out there and try to win this thing.”


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