Tiger Woods: ‘The Fact that I Won Golf Tournaments Is Frankly Irrelevant’

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Tiger Woods addressed a crowd of reporters today before playing in the Masters at Augusta, answering questions frankly about the scandals that have surrounded him over the past few months. The reporters present asked a mix of hard-hitting and softball questions, about topics like the vague police report after his mysterious Thanksgiving accident, performance-enhancing drugs, his use of Ambien and Vicodin, and the requisite: "What kind of golfer do you think you'll be now?" sort of fluff. "Unfortunately, a lot of what I did over the past few years was terrible," he told a reporter who asked about his secret life of women and partying. "The fact that I've won golf tournaments is frankly irrelevant."

"It's not about the championships. It's about how you live your life. I hadn't done that the right way for a while. I need to change that. I need to be a better man going forward than I was before," he said. "Just because I've gone through treatment doesn't mean it stops. … If I win championships along the way, so be it."

"Sitting here, I'm not that nervous. As far as getting out there, that's where I was nervous," he admitted to reporters, noting that the crowd was very polite and encouraging to him this morning. "It was just a great day today. Coming into today I didn't know what to expect, the reception. Tell you what, the gallerists couldn't have been nicer. The encouragement I got, it just blew me away." Describing his reception, he said that it "just touched my heart pretty good."

Early on in the event, he apologized to the public, and to his fellow players for subjecting them to questions from the media over his own private life. "Hopefully the players will be left alone" now that he's back, he said. "I just want to apologize to all of them for having to endure all they've had to endure." As for what he himself has had to endure, he cited the "constant harassment" to his family as the hardest to handle, as well as "having to look at [himself] in a light that" he never wanted to. "Because of the timeframe of it I missed my son's first birthday, and that hurts," he said. "That hurts a lot."

Admitting that he was still in a rehabilitation program (where he'd been in inpatient therapy for "45 days"), Woods indicated that he was "certainly not going to stop in the future." He's also getting back to religion to help him deal with his personal demons, he said. "I meditate religiously again. I went back to my Buddhist roots with my mom," Woods explained. "I need to do things the way I used to do it. Unfortunately I got away from that. I lost it, and also lost my life in the process."