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Tiger Woods Makes Public Apology

(Tiger Woods apology story updated with reactions from Nike and Electronic Arts, and analysis from crisis communications coach.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tiger Woods spoke to the public for the first time in three months Friday, apologizing repeatedly to his family, friends, remaining sponsors and fans for his sexual transgressions.

"I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior," Woods said.

Perhaps to the surprise of some, Woods did not use this opportunity to announce his return to golf. Instead, Woods used the opportunity to express his apologies to everyone affected by his behavior and to dispel rumors about his family.

He also thanked PGA tour commissioner Tim Finchem and his PGA Tour peers for their patience and understanding.

"I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that will be," Woods said.

Woods says he forsees a long road ahead of him in resolving his personal issues and will remain in therapy for the foreseeable future; he added that he will be practicing Buddhism to help the healing process.

During his apology, Woods was adamant about dispelling rumors that his wife Elin had attacked him the November night that he crashed his car -- and ultimately generated the media speculation that led to the many revelations about his affairs.

"Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our household ever. Elin deserves praise, not blame," Woods said. Tiger said he understands there has been great interest in whether he and his wife will be staying together, but wishes to keep these issues private.

"What we say to each other will remain between two of us," Woods said. "Please leave my wife and kids alone."
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