By Nicola Boden and David Gardner In Los Angeles
Forgive me: Tiger Woods at the Sawgrass Golf Club in Florida today
In an extraordinary and carefully stage-managed apology, a tearful Tiger Woods faced the world yesterday for the first time since his exposure as a serial adulterer.
The billionaire golfer stared manfully into the camera as he repeatedly said how 'deeply sorry' he was for the pain his philandering had caused.
Emerging from his bunker 84 days after the car crash which caused his life to unravel, he begged forgiveness from his wife, family, friends and fans.
Candid: Woods said: 'I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated'
And, with suitably dramatic pauses, 34-year-old Woods made sure to mention that the cheating scandal 'caused considerable worry to my business partners'
His 15-minute performance included a plug for his foundation and a word of thanks to his sponsors - who duly responded in kind minutes later.
But it remains to be seen whether the millions watching worldwide will be convinced.
And despite his contrition it is still not clear if he can save his marriage or when he will return to playing.
Support: Woods' mother Tida gives him a hug after the statement
Emotional: Woods held back tears as he confessed to his infidelities
Dressed in a jacket and open-necked light blue shirt, a clearly-uncomfortable Woods blamed his enormous fame for making him feel 'entitled' to cheat repeatedly on his wife and go beyond the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.
‘I knew my actions were wrong but I convinced myself that normal rules did not apply,’ he said.
'I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by - I thought I could get away with everything I wanted to.
'I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I did not have to go far to find them.
That's our boy: Kathy Battaglia (Tiger Woods Enterprises), his mother Kultida and Amy Reynolds (Nike) at Tiger Woods's extraordinary speech yesterday
'I was wrong, I was foolish, I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself, I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admired me.'
Woods was most impassioned when defending his humiliated wife Elin Nordegren - notably absent from the proceedings - from claims that she physically attacked him after she discovered he had cheated on her.
'Elin never hit me that night or any other night,' he said.
'There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame.'
Carefully stage-managed: Woods spoke for more than 13 minutes
Sombre: Woods entering the room (L) and (R) leaving, wiping tears from his eyes
Of his efforts to repair his marriage, he said: 'As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behaviour over time. We have a lot to discuss.'
'Poise and grace': Woods' wife Elin Nordegren in Florida yesterday
Woods's rehearsed and curiously robotic performance left many points undiscussed, including how and why he had felt the need to take up to 11 lovers including waitresses and surgically enhanced porn stars.
He took no questions and all but a few of the 40 people in the room at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra, Florida, were family, friends or business associates.
After the speech he embraced his mother, Kultida, who stared at the ground for most of the apology, and a selected few family and friends.
Despite his wife's non-appearance, Woods insisted he was working to save his marriage.
He said the couple had 'begun the process of discussing the damage by my behaviour'. But he added: 'What we say to each other will remain with the two of us. I have a lot to atone for.'
He had begun his address by looking straight at the camera and saying: 'For all that I have done, I am so sorry.'
'I was unfaithful,' he said. 'I never thought about who I was hurting. I thought only about myself. I had affairs, I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame.'
But there were also glimpses of anger, with Woods railing against the spotlight the scandal has thrown on those close to him. At one point, he appealed: 'Please leave my wife and kids alone.'
He also denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Woods said he was returning for more treatment today to the sex-addiction clinic in Mississippi where he spent nearly two months after dropping out of sight when the scandal broke.
Unfaithful: Tiger has been linked to 11 women since last November. They are: Top row, from left - Jaimee Grubbs, Holly Sampson, Jamie Jungers, Mindy Lawton. Middle row - Cori Rist, Kalika Moquin, Rachel Uchitel, Loredana Jolie. Bottom row - Theresa Rogers, Julie Postle and Joslyn James
He told how he was received therapy as an inpatient 'for the issues I am facing'.
The golfer added that he was returning to the Buddhist beliefs by which he led his early life to help him through the ordeal. 'I stopped living by the values I was taught to live upon.'
'It's hard to admit that I need help, but I do... I have a long way to go but I am taking my first steps in the right direction.
'I owe it to my family to become a better person - I owe it to those close to me to become a better man. That is what my focus will be. I have a lot of work to do and I intend to commit myself to doing it.'
He added: 'I need to regain my balance and be centred so that I can save the things that are the most important to me - my marriage and my children.'
As for golf, he said he did not know when he would return to the game although, tellingly, he would not 'rule out this year'.
'I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that day will be,' he said.
'I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behaviour more respectful of the game.'
Woods's mea culpa came nearly three months after the bizarre car crash outside his Florida mansion which sent his life spinning out of control and transformed his image from perfect family man to sex-obsessed philanderer.
His only statements before yesterday had come on his website - the first a brief and qualified apology for his 'indiscretions' and the second announcing his indefinite break from golf.
He refused to give details of how many times he was unfaithful or any details about his affairs, insisting this was between him and his wife.
At the end of his prepared address, he spoke to all those who used to have faith in him and said: 'I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.'
But even as he was attempting to draw a line under the damaging episode that has cast a huge shadow over his career, one of his alleged mistresses porn star Joslyn James was giving her own press conference.
James, who claims she had a three-year fling with the golfer, wept as she appeared at a radio station.
Former porn star Joslyn James, who claims she had an affair with Woods, is hugged by her lawyer as she watches his public statement yesterday
The revelations have already cost Woods lucrative sponsorship deals and has stretched his marriage to the limit.
Elin is now believed to have put a divorce on hold after he agreed to seek help for his sex addiction.
Yesterday's conference was part of a careful attempt to rehabilitate Woods' image and reintroduce him to the sport.
Emotional: Joslyn James weeps at her own press conference today
Two sets of pictures of the star were released this week ahead of the appearance as he returns to the public eye.
The first, on Wednesday, showed him going for a job with his personal trainer.
And yesterday, he was seen getting back into the swing of things as he practiced near to his £1.7million home in Windermere, Florida.
He was shown wearing his sponsor Nike's jumper and a personalised Nike cap decorated with his TW logo.
Elin has been living with the couple's two children, Sam, two, and one-year-old Charlie at the family home near Orlando, while her husband Woods has been holed up at another house on the same exclusive estate.
Although absent from yesterday's press conference, Elin showed solidarity with the family brand by taking her daughter to school dressed entirely in Nike gear.
Even her training shoes were made by the sports giant who have a fiver year sponsorship deal with Woods said to be worth more than £30million.
She was, however, not wearing her wedding ring.
Yesterday's statement sparked anger on the golf circuit, even before it was made, because it came in the middle of the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
The world is watching: TV crews outside Sawgrass Golf Club in Florida yesterday
Strict: Despite the waiting crews, only one camera was allowed inside
Ernie Els said: 'It is selfish, and you can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsors. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Fridays. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.'
Accenture was the first sponsor to drop Woods after the scandal, with some observers suggesting his move to hijack the competition could be his subtle from of revenge.
But according to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem explaining the date of the statement, there was little choice because of Woods' ongoing therapy.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump, a friend of Woods, said he should say 'bye bye' to his marriage and be a 'wonderful playboy'.
The American businessman, who has been married three times, said: 'I have a whole question as to whether they should even get back together.
'It's so damaged and if the reports are just half true I would recommend Tiger just call it a bad experience, say bye-bye, go out and be a wonderful playboy and win tournaments and have a good life.
'I think the whole concept of them getting together is not in the best interest necessarily of either one. It's so badly damaged that every time they have a little argument she's going to look at him with blood pouring out of her eyes.
'I think the best thing he can do is go on his way, work hard on his game, win major championships and other championships and continue to be maybe the best golfer that ever lived.'
Back in the swing: Tiger Woods playing a round of golf on Thursday at a course near his £1.7million home in Windermere, Florida
Trump added that Woods should have spoken out far earlier and attacked his management for today's carefully-staged affair.
'The most important thing Tiger can do is get back on the golf course and win. This whole thing with sex rehabilitation, I'm not sure I'm a believer..' he said.
'Tiger will never again make the kind of money he was making because these great companies are probably never coming back no matter what happens.
'Tiger will hopefully be the greatest golfer ever again. I think the main thing is that he plays great golf and wins major championships. If he does that then not all of it is going to be forgotten, but a lot of it will be.'
Woods’s mother said after the speech: 'As a human being everyone has faults, makes mistakes and sins. We all do. But we move on when we make a mistake and learn from it. He will come out stronger, a better person.'
TIGER'S EXTRAORDINARY MEA CULPA IN FULL
Good morning, and thank you for joining me. Many of you in this room are my friends.
Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me or you've worked with me or you've supported me.
Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behaviour I engaged in.
I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife Elin and to my children. And, while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say.
Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behaviour.
As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behaviour over time. We have a lot to discuss; however, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.
I am also aware of the pain my behaviour has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down, and I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behaviour has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down personally and professionally. My behaviour has caused considerable worry to my business partners.
To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Center students in Southern California to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington DC, millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.
But still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position.
For all that I have done, I am so sorry.
I have a lot to atone for, but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night.
It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal.
Elin deserves praise, not blame.
The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behaviour. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.
I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them.
I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.
I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.
I once heard, and I believe it's true, it's not what you achieve in life that matters; it's what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count.
Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.
It's hard to admit that I need help, but I do. For 45 days from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction.
As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants to ask me for the details and the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.
Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false. Some have written things about my family. Despite the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight. They did not do these things; I did.
I have always tried to maintain a private space for my wife and children. They have been kept separate from my sponsors, my commercial endorsements. When my children were born, we only released photographs so that the paparazzi could not chase them.
However, my behaviour doesn't make it right for the media to follow my two and a half year old daughter to school and report the school's location. They staked out my wife and they pursued my mom. Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone.
I recognise I have brought this on myself, and I know above all I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That's where my focus will be.
I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age.
People probably don't realise it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practised my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years.
Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.
As I move forward, I will continue to receive help because I've learned that's how people really do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy. I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I'm making these remarks today.
In therapy I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centred so I can save the things that are most important to me, my marriage and my children.
That also means relying on others for help. I've learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope someday to return that support to others who are seeking help. I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that day will be.
I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behaviour more respectful of the game. In recent weeks I have received many thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me.
I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner Finchem, and the players for their patience and understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the course.
Finally, there are many people in this room, and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.