Monday, April 05, 2010

Tiger: "I Made Incredibly Bad Decisions"

In 35 surprisingly relaxed minutes Monday afternoon, Tiger Woods talked about how far out of control his life had gotten, how he played golf last year with a partially torn Achilles tendon and how he missed his son's first birthday because he was in therapy.

Giving his first group interview since his life began coming part last Thanksgiving, Woods called his first day back in front of golf galleries at the Masters "a great day" and said golf is fun again to him.

Though Woods has been criticized for his unwillingness to talk to the media, other than a public statement in February and two five-minute interviews two weeks ago, his question-and-answer session was not contentious.

Woods was asked about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who is under investigation for his use of human growth hormone and talked about the events that eventually led him to spend 45 days in therapy, though he declined to specify what he was in treatment for. Woods also declined to offer any more details on the auto accident on Thanksgiving weekend.

"I made incredibly bad decisions," Woods said.

Among the highlights:

-- Woods said the toughest parts of his ordeal were "having to look at myself in a light I never intended to look at myself...and how far I had gotten from the core morals my mom and dad had taught me" and "the constant harassment of my wife and family."

--He said "the fact I won golf tournaments was irrelevant" compared to the damage he did to himself and his family;

-- He acknowledged having Galea perform a platement enrichment procedure to help his recovery from knee surgery in 2008 but denied using human growth hormone or any performance-enhancing drugs. "I've never taken an illegal drug in my life," he said.

Woods said he suffered a torn right Achilles tendon in December, 2008 while rehabbing his knee. He said he has volunteered to cooperate with federal authorities if they want to interview him.

-- Asked why he waited until after the events of Thanksgiving weekend and the days after to begin changing his behavior and enter therapy, Woods said, "I hadn't hit far enough on the bottom to make myself look at what I'd done and engaged in. That's when I went to rehab."

-- Woods said he spent Christmas with his family then left for rehab, causing him to miss his son Charlie's first birthday.

"That hurt a lot," Woods said. "I vowed never to miss another one. I can't go back to where I was. It's something I regret and probably will the rest of my life."