Tiger Woods’ first public interview since the car crash
that changed his life and public image revealed little detail on what
happened that night or his infidelities but it showed him eager to
repair his life and return to golf at next month’s Masters.
Tiger Woods grants first interview since crash
Woods addresses new reality, avoids specifics of crash and “private matters”
ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi interviewed Tiger Woods on Sunday in Windermere, Fla. The interview was the first one granted by the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer since his Nov. 27 car accident outside his home. The following is a transcript of that interview. Woods also spoke with the Golf Channel later that day.
Rinaldi: What’s the difference between the man who left Augusta national a year ago and the one who is about to return?
Woods: A lot has transpired in my life. A lot of ugly things have happened. Things that…..I’ve done some pretty bad things in my life. And uh, all came to a head. But now, after treatment, going for inpatient treatment for 45 days and more outpatient treatment, I’m getting back to my old roots.
Rinaldi: For a lot of people, the spark of those bad things is Nov. 27. Early that day, what happened?
Woods: Well, it’s all in the police report. Beyond that, everything’s between Elin and myself and that’s private.
Rinaldi: Why did you lose control of the car?
Woods: As I said … that’s between Elin and myself.
Rinaldi: If it’s a private matter, why issue a public apology?
Woods: Well, I owe a lot of people an apology. I hurt a lot of people. Not just my wife. My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my actions were not according to that. That’s why I had to apologize. I was so sorry for what I had done.
Rinaldi: You’ve said you’ve made transgressions. How would you, in your own words, describe the depth of your infidelity?
Woods: Well, just one is, is enough. And obviously that wasn’t the case, and I’ve made my mistakes. And as I’ve said, I’ve hurt so many people, and so many people I have to make an amends to, and that’s living a life of amends.
Rinaldi: You said you were in treatment. The simple question is, for what?
Woods: That’s a private matter as well. But I can tell you what, it was tough, it was really tough to look at yourself in a light that you never want to look at yourself, that’s pretty brutal.
Rinaldi: What’d you see?
Woods: I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become.
Rinaldi: Who was that?
Woods: Well, I had gotten away from my core values as I said earlier. I’d gotten away from my Buddhism. And I quit meditating. I quit doing all the things that my mom and dad had taught me. And as I said earlier in my statement, I felt entitled, and that is not how I was raised.
Rinaldi: Why not seek treatment before all of this came out?
Woods: Well, I didn’t know I was that bad. I didn’t know that I was that bad.
Rinaldi: How did you learn that? How did you learn it?
Woods: Stripping away denial, rationalization. You strip all that away and you find the truth.
Rinaldi: How do you reconcile your behavior with your view of marriage?
Woods: That’s living a life of amends and that’s just working at it each and every day.
Rinaldi: Given all that’s happened, what’s your measure of success at Augusta?
Woods: Well, playing is one thing. I’m excited to get back and play. I’m excited to get to see the guys again. I really miss a lot of my friends out there. I miss competing. But still, I still have a lot more treatment to do, and just because I’m playing, doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop going to treatment.
Rinaldi: What reception are you expecting from fans?
Woods: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m a little nervous about that to be honest with you.
Rinaldi: How much do you care?
Woods: It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there. But also hope they clap for birdies, too.
Rinaldi: Eleven months ago, here at Isleworth, I asked you, ‘How well does the world know you?’ What’s your answer to that now?
Woods: A lot better now. I was living a life of a lie. I really was. And I was doing a lot of things, like I said, that hurt a lot of people. And stripping away denial and rationalization you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it and you start conquering it and you start living up to it. The strength that I feel now, I’ve never felt that type of strength.
Rinaldi: In the last four months, Tiger, what’s been the low point?
Woods: I’ve had a lot of low points. Just when I didn’t think it could get any lower, it got lower.
Rinaldi: An example?
Woods: When I was in treatment, out of treatment, before I went in, there were so many different low points. People I had to talk and face like my wife, like my mom.
Rinaldi: What was that moment like, either one?
Woods: They both have been brutal. They’ve both been very tough. Because I hurt them the most. Those are the two people in my life who I’m closest to and to say the things that I’ve done, truthfully to them, is … honestly … was … very painful.
Rinaldi: What was your wife’s reaction when you sat down and had that first conversation?
Woods: She was hurt, she was hurt. Very hurt. Shocked. Angry. And, you know, she had every right to be and I’m as disappointed as everyone else in my own behavior because I can’t believe I actually did that to the people I loved.
Rinaldi: I ask this question respectfully, but of course at a distance from your family life. When you look at it now, why did you get married?
Woods: Why? Because I loved her. I loved Elin with everything I have. And that’s something that makes me feel even worse, that I did this to someone I loved that much.
Rinaldi: How do you reconcile what you’ve done with that love?
Woods: We work at it.