Tiger Woods says he has been “living a lie” and admitted to “doing some ugly things” before his image was shattered by a sex scandal.
In the golfer’s first interview since he smashed his car outside his home in November, Woods said it wasn’t until he did some soul searching with the help of a therapist that he came to the “ugly” truth and “saw a person I never thought I would become.”
“I was living a lie, I really was,” Woods told ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi “and I was doing a lot of things, that hurt a lot of people.”
“Stripping away denial, and rationalization, you start coming to the truth of who you really are, and that can be very ugly,” he said.
Woods announced his return at the Masters next month after four months of self-imposed exile.
He conducted two separate five-minute interviews with ESPN and The Golf Channel on Sunday, in which he talked about his personal feelings but he declined to give details about the now infamous early-morning car smash or his time in a rehabilitation clinic.
“A lot has transpired in my life. A lot of ugly things have happened. I have done some pretty bad things in my life,” he said.
Woods told ESPN he is starting to get his life back in order.
“When you face it, and you start conquering it, and you start living up to it, the strength that I feel now. I have never felt that type of strength,” he said.
Woods has not played since winning the Australian Masters in mid-November after a sex scandal in which he admitted cheating on wife Elin, and apologized for igniting a tabloid feeding-frenzy that has seen more than a dozen women claim to have had affairs with him.
Woods said he reached a low point when he had to face his mother and wife with the truth.
“I had a lot of low points. Just when I didn’t think it could get any lower it got lower,” Woods said. “There were so many different low points. People I had to talk to and face like my wife, like my mom ... I hurt them the most. Those are the two people in my life who I am the closest to and to say the things that I’ve done, truthfully to them, is ... honestly ... was ... very painful.”
Asked about how his wife took the news, Woods said, “She was hurt, she was hurt. Very hurt. Shocked. Angry. She had every right to.”
The interviews came just days after former porn star Joslyn James released more than 100 text messages on her Web site that portray Woods as someone who fantasizes about having violent sex with submissive women.
“Just one is enough,” Woods said of his affairs. “Obviously that wasn’t the case.”
Asked why he attended a clinic in Mississippi at the beginning of the year he refused to go into specifics.
“That’s a private matter. But I can tell you that it was tough. Really tough to look at yourself in a light that you never want to look at yourself.” he said.
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker recently dedicated an entire episode of their hugely popular comedy cartoon series to Woods’ infidelity problems.
“It was hurtful,” he said of the ridicule and scorn he has received. “But then again, you know what? I did it … Looking back on it now, with a more clear head, I get it. I can understand why people would say those things. It was disgusting behavior.”
Woods told The Golf Channel that even people in his inner circle didn’t know the extent of his problems.
“It was all me. I’m the one who did it. I’m the one who acted the way I acted. No one knew what was going on when it was going on,” he said.
“I’m sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it, or tried to put a stop to it. But I kept it all to myself,” Woods said.
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