NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tiger Woods on Monday spoke to the press for the first time in months and, in the process, answered about 30-plus minutes of burning questions from reporters and reasserted his desire to cultivate and rebuild his damaged relationships with corporate sponsors.
Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday. The tournament begins Thursday.
Tiger was speaking at the first day of the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Noticeably absent was his wife, Elin, who Tiger said wouldn't be present at the tournament.
When asked how he felt when he learned that corporate sponsors would be dropping him because of the scandal that arose from his behavior, Woods answered, "Do I understand why they dropped me? Of course. I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I totally understand why they would do that.
"Hopefully, I can prove to the other companies going forward that I am a worthy investment, that I can help their company, help their company grow and represent them well," Tiger told reporters.
Tiger Woods, right, speaks during his Monday press conference at the Masters. At his left is Craig Heathley.
During the press conference, Tiger also apologized to those that he had hurt through his behavior, including his family, colleagues and fans.
"Hopefully after this press conference, players can be left alone" to focus on the Masters and the game, Tiger said, referring to his fellow PGA Tour players, who have for months been bombarded with questions by the media and public about Tiger's personal life. Tiger said he was sorry for what they've had to "endure" over the past five months.
Tiger also expressed remorse about the media harassment that his family now must endure everywhere they go -- and, of course, missing his son's first birthday due the timing of his therapy treatment in December. "That hurts a lot," he said.
Tiger also added that his experiences over the last few months have made him a better person, and that out of respect for his fans and the game, he's made a "conscious decision to tone down negative outbursts," though consequently "my positive outbursts will be calmed down as well."
As the press conference progressed and more questions about his speculated use of performance-enhancing drugs arose, Tiger took the opportunity to defend himself adamantly. Tiger denied ever using human growth hormones and performance-enhancing drugs. Tiger did say however, that he had received platelet-rich plasma injections to treat injuries in his left knee and Achilles tendon -- a legal procedure. Tiger also admitted to taking vicodin and ambien prescription drugs for his injuries, especially when his late father was sick.
"When my dad died that was a tough time in my life," he said.
Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the sixth green during a practice round for the Masters on Monday The tournament begins Thursday, April 8.
Among Tiger's most vocal supporters thus far have been
, who have stood by him even as other high-profile corporate sponsors like
, and certain studies had reported that Woods' actions -- and the resulting scandal -- had reduced shareholder value in sponsor companies by as much as 2.3%.
Already, the media is applauding the "human" aspect of Tiger's performance today, in contrast to what Tiger's critics felt was an unsuccessful and mechanical
During the press conference today, Tiger said that he was nervous given the fact that "I haven't really played at all" recently -- though he did, as usual, note that he was going to try "to go out and win this thing."
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
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