THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Tiger Woods said he let his family down with transgressions he regrets “with all of my heart,” and that he will deal with his personal life behind closed doors.
His statement Wednesday follows a cover story in Us Weekly magazine that reports a Los Angeles cocktail waitress claims she had a 31-month affair with the world’s No. 1 golfer.
“I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves,” Woods said on his Web site . “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”
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The cocktail waitress, Jaimee Grubbs, told the magazine she met Woods at a Las Vegas nightclub the week after the 2007 Masters — two months before Woods’ wife, Elin, gave birth to their first child. Grubbs claims to have proof in 300 text messages.
About three hours before Woods’ statement, the magazine published what it said was a voicemail — provided by Grubbs — that Woods left her phone on Nov. 24, three days before his middle-of-the-night car crash outside his home in Florida.
Woods did not offer details of any alleged relationship.
“I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves,” Woods said. “For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.”
Woods has been subjected to more media scrutiny over the last week than when he first won the Masters in 1997 and set off the first wave of Tigermania. He has spoken only three times through his Web site, although this was his longest posting.
“Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means,” Woods said. “For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives.”
And he continued to say accounts that physical violence played a role in his Friday morning car crash were “utterly false and malicious.”
“Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect,” he wrote.
His statement came one day after the Florida Highway Patrol closed its investigation into the accident — without Woods ever speaking to state troopers. He was charged with careless driving, which carries a $164 fine and four points on his driving record.
The story soon shifted from a patrol investigation to sordid allegations into his personal life.
In the voicemail released by the magazine, a man says to Grubbs:
“Hey, it’s, uh, it’s Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Um, can you please, uh, take your name off your phone. My wife went through my phone. And, uh, may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, um, and what do you call it just have it as a number on the voicemail, just have it as your telephone number. That’s it, OK. You gotta do this for me. Huge. Quickly. All right. Bye.”
The Associated Press could not confirm Woods was the caller.
Complete statement from Tiger Woods
I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.
Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.
But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.
Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it’s difficult.
I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.