In the golfer’s first interview since he smashed his car in November outside his Florida home, Woods said it wasn’t until he did some soul searching with the help of a therapist that he came to the “ugly” truth and “saw a person I never thought I would become.”
“I was living a lie, I really was,” Woods told ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi. “And I was doing a lot of things, that hurt a lot of people.
“And stripping away denial, and rationalisation, you start coming to the truth of who you really are, and that can be very ugly.”
Woods announced his return at the Masters in April after four months of self-imposed exile.
Woods conducted two separate five-minute interviews with ESPN and The Golf Channel on Sunday afternoon.
He talked about his personal feelings and what it feels like to become a late-night talk show punchline but he refused to give details about the early-morning car smash or his time in a southern US rehabilitation clinic.
“A lot has transpired in my life. A lot of ugly things have happened. I have done some pretty bad things in my life,” he said.
He told ESPN he is starting to get his life back in order.
“When you face it, and you start conquering it, and you start living up to it, the strength that I feel now. I have never felt that type of strength,” the 14-time major championship winner said.
Woods has not played since winning the Australian Masters in mid-November after a sex scandal in which he admitted cheating on wife Elin, and apologised for igniting a tabloid frenzy where more than a dozen women have claimed affairs. He and Elin have a two-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.
Dressed in a green sweater and a white baseball cap, Woods chose his words carefully on Sunday as he interviewed near his home in Windermere, Florida.
Woods said he reached a low point when he had to face his mother and wife with the truth.
“I had a lot of low points. Just when I didn’t think it could get any lower it got lower,” Woods said. “There were so many different low points. People I had to talk to and face like my wife, like my mom.
“I hurt them the most. Those are the two people in my life who I am the closest to and to say the things that I’ve done, truthfully to them, is … honestly … was … very painful.”
Responding to how his wife took the news, Woods said, “She was hurt, she was hurt. Very hurt. Shocked. Angry. She had every right to.”
Woods’s interview come just days after former porn star Joslyn James released more than 100 text messages on her website that portray Woods as someone who fantasises about having violent sex with submissive women.
“Just one is enough,” Woods said of his affairs. “Obviously that wasn’t the case.”
Woods attended a clinic in Mississippi in January and February. Asked what he went into in-patient therapy for, Woods refused to go into specifics.
“That’s a private matter. But I can tell you that it was tough. Really tough to look at yourself in a light that you never want to look at yourself.”
Woods appeared on television on February 19 and made a public apology but it was a tightly controlled and scripted show. Only a few handpicked reporters were in attendance and none was allowed to ask questions.
Woods did not give details on Sunday on the infamous car crash.
“It is all in the police report,” he said. “Beyond that, everything is between Elin and myself and that is private.”
Woods also declined to comment on why he lost control and smashed his car.
“As I said. That is between Elin and myself,” Woods said.
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker recently dedicated an entire episode of their hugely popular comedy cartoon to Woods’s infidelity problems.
“It was hurtful,” he said of the ridicule and scorn he has received. “But then again, you know what? I did it.
“Looking back on it now, with a more clear head, I get it. I can understand why people would say those things. It was disgusting behaviour.”
Woods told The Golf Channel that even people in his inner circle didn’t know the extent of his problems.
“It was all me. I’m the one who did it. I’m the one who acted the way I acted. No one knew what was going on when it was going on,” Woods said.
“I’m sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it, or tried to put a stop to it. But I kept it all to myself,” he said.
Woods said he wished others would had stepped in because he couldn’t help himself.
“I tried to stop and I couldn’t stop. And it was just, it was horrific.” AFP