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Tiger Woods Makes Public Apology

Tiger Woods speaks publicly for the first time in three months, and apologizes to his friends, family, sponsors and fans.
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(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."

Woods, for the first time publicly, explained his behavior, but made no excuses. "I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was not acceptable," Woods said. He explained that while he was having these multiple affairs, he had wrongly felt that normal rules did not apply to him. At the time, Woods said, he had felt that he deserved to "enjoy all the temptations around me."

"I thought I was entitled," Woods said.

Woods said he had considered what he has done and "it's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I made." Woods said he will leave for more treatment and therapy starting Saturday.

Woods took no questions at the end of his address. Instead, he ended it with an embrace with his mother Kutilda and with friends and family in attendance.

Peter Moore, EA Sports' president said in statement that "it was good to see Tiger address the public today, and we're supportive of his focus toward family and rebuilding his life. He remains one of the greatest athletes in history, and as a long-standing partner, we look forward to seeing Tiger back on the golf course when the time is right for him and his family."

Likewise, a

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spokesperson said "Tiger has apologized and made his position clear. Nike fully supports him and his family. We look forward to him returning to golf."

And with regards to how the statement is being received, Crisis Communications Coach TJ Walker of Media Training Worldwide says he gives Tiger a B+ for his statement, saying that "he seemed contrite; he seemed sincere...he made the right type of apologies -- he apologized thoroughly, with great specificity."

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York


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