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Tiger says he's coming back to win at Augusta

 Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the sixth green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The to...
 Spectators take photos of Tiger Woods as he walks down the eighth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Mo...
 Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the seventh hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. ...
 Tiger Woods watches his putt on the ninth green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The t...
 Caddie Steve Williams watches as Tiger Woods hits on the seventh fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Mon...
 The gallery watches as Tiger Woods hits on the ninth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5...
 Spectators take photos as Tiger Woods walks down the sixth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, A...
 Tiger Woods gets a ball from caddie Steve Williams on the fourth tee during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday,...
  Spectators surround Tiger Woods as he tees off during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The t...
 Fred Couples, left, walks with Tiger Woods to the first green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April ...
 Tiger Woods wipes his forehead before his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begi...
 Tiger Woods sits next Craig Heathley, left, during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tour...
 Tiger Woods appears on media center monitors during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The to...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
 Tiger Woods arrives for his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, A...
 Tiger Woods listens to a question during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament be...
 Reporters watch Tiger Woods' news conference from the media center at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournam...
 Tiger Woods and the surrounding gallery follow his tee shot on the 15th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.,...
 Tiger Woods gives a golf ball to a patron on the 15th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, ...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
 Tiger Woods speaks during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, A...
 Tiger Woods takes off his cap before his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begin...
 Tiger Woods wipes his forehead before his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begi...
 Tiger Woods, right, speaks during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thu...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
  Tiger Woods speaks during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
 Tiger Woods news conference at the Masters Golf Tournament is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 5...
 Tiger Woods, right, hands his putter to caddie Steve Williams on the 18th green after his practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, ...
 Tiger Woods news conference at the Masters Golf Tournament is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 5...
 Tiger Woods reflects on a question during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament beg...
 Tiger Woods speaks during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, Ap...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
 Tiger Woods reflects on a question during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament beg...
 Tiger Woods speaks during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, A...
 Tiger Woods speaks during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, Ap...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...
 Tiger Woods wipes his face during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thu...
 Tiger Woods news conference at the Masters Golf Tournament is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 5...
 Tiger Woods speaks during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, ...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the sixth green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The to...

Masters Golf

Spectators take photos of Tiger Woods as he walks down the eighth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Mo...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the seventh hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. ...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods watches his putt on the ninth green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The t...

Masters Golf

Caddie Steve Williams watches as Tiger Woods hits on the seventh fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Mon...

APTOPIX Masters Golf

The gallery watches as Tiger Woods hits on the ninth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5...

Masters Golf

Spectators take photos as Tiger Woods walks down the sixth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, A...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods gets a ball from caddie Steve Williams on the fourth tee during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday,...

APTOPIX Masters Golf

Spectators surround Tiger Woods as he tees off during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The t...

APTOPIX Masters Golf

Fred Couples, left, walks with Tiger Woods to the first green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April ...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods wipes his forehead before his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begi...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods sits next Craig Heathley, left, during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tour...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods appears on media center monitors during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The to...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods arrives for his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, A...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods listens to a question during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament be...

Masters Golf

Reporters watch Tiger Woods' news conference from the media center at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournam...

APTOPIX Masters Golf

Tiger Woods and the surrounding gallery follow his tee shot on the 15th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.,...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods gives a golf ball to a patron on the 15th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, ...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

APTOPIX Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, A...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods takes off his cap before his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begin...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods wipes his forehead before his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begi...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods, right, speaks during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thu...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

Wall Street

Tiger Woods news conference at the Masters Golf Tournament is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 5...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods, right, hands his putter to caddie Steve Williams on the 18th green after his practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, ...

Wall Street

Tiger Woods news conference at the Masters Golf Tournament is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 5...

APTOPIX Masters Golf

Tiger Woods reflects on a question during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament beg...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, Ap...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods reflects on a question during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament beg...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, A...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during a news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, Ap...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday,...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods wipes his face during a press conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thu...

Wall Street

Tiger Woods news conference at the Masters Golf Tournament is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 5...

Masters Golf

Tiger Woods speaks during his news conference at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Monday, April 5, 2010. The tournament begins Thursday, ...

He looked like the same Tiger Woods, head down as he walked along the first fairway at the Masters, no one suspecting the jangled nerves he felt from taking his golf public for the first time since his private life unraveled.
One fan called out, "Welcome back, Tiger."
Instead of ignoring him as he has done so often, Woods turned toward the man with a wave and a smile.
"To be out there in front of the people, where I have done some things that are just horrible, and for the fans to really want to see me play golf again ... I mean, that felt great," Woods said Monday. "That really did."
Then came another tense moment _ facing the media for the first time since he was exposed for cheating on his wife.
He dodged questions with rehearsed answers, refused to go into details about the therapy he sought or the state of his marriage, except that his wife won't be at Augusta National this week. But there was a touch of humility and patience in his voice during a 35-minute press conference. He even tried to call every writer by name.
"I need to be a better man going forward than I was before," he said. "And just because I've gone through treatment doesn't mean it stops. I'm trying as hard as I possibly can each and every day to get my life better and better and stronger. And if I win championships along the way, so be it."
Woods, a four-time champion who hasn't hit a shot that mattered since Nov. 15, is not at the Masters simply to make amends.
"Going to go out there and try to win this thing," he said.
And so ended a most unusual start to the Masters, which might be as tough as any round Woods plays this week.
It was a solid start in the process of restoring his image. Woods clearly was intent on mingling more with the fans than he did before the sex scandal. First, he putted a couple of balls to some kids watching alongside the 18th green. Then, a real surprise: he stopped to sign autographs while heading to the practice range.
He had not played to the crowd since winning the Australian Masters in Melbourne, where fans saw him only as golf's best player with 82 victories and 14 majors and no rival except history.
His world caved in 12 days later with a car accident outside his home that sent him to the hospital with a busted lip that required five stitches, and a shattered image that might take years to repair.
"A lot has happened in my life over the past five months," said Woods, who provided a few details and denials in the 47 questions he fielded from reporters who occupied all 207 seats in the media center.
Among the revelations:
_ He ruptured the Achilles' tendon in his right leg in December 2008, two months before his return from knee surgery. Woods said he was taking Vicodin for that and his left knee.
_ He began taking Ambien after his father died because he was having trouble sleeping.
_ He was sent to an Orlando, Florida hospital after his Nov. 27 accident for a sore neck and a cut lip.
_ He denied ever taking human growth hormone, performance-enhancing drugs or "any illegal drug." He said he sought out Canadian doctor Anthony Galea for "blood spinning" because of his treatment on other athletes. Galea's assistant was caught bringing HGH and other substances into the United States last year.
Woods said the government has contacted him about his association with Galea and that he would cooperate fully, "but as of right now, they have not asked for my time."
Woods also said he would tone down his temper _ and his celebrations _ on the course.
He was calm Monday. He had a scraggly goatee _ a look he has sported occasionally during his career, but rarely at a major _ and smiled and made eye contact with the gallery.
Woods walked into his press conference with a comfortable smile and hugged Ronald Townsend, the first black member at Augusta National.
But he was not comfortable at the start.
And as he has done in statements on his Web site, a public apology at PGA Tour headquarters Feb. 19 and a pair of five-minute TV interviews two weeks ago, Woods owned up to his mistakes.
Not everyone was satisfied.
Even as he spoke, adult film star Josyln James _ one of more than a dozen women who claims to have had affairs with Woods, watched his news conference with attorney Gloria Allred and a room full of reporters and TV cameras in New York.
Last month, James released what she said was a series of tawdry text messages from Woods that spelled out their trysts.
"I think he's still a big, fat liar," James said. She has asked for an apology from Woods, saying he was not truthful during their three-year relationship.
How could Woods, renowned for discipline and control, have allowed himself to leave so much evidence that can find its way into the tabloids and on the Internet. And did part of him want to get caught in such a mess?
It was one of several times Woods did not offer a direct answer.
"I don't know," he said. "All I know is I acted just terribly, poorly, made just incredibly bad decisions, and decisions that have hurt so many people close to me. That's enough."
Woods did not say what kind of treatment he received during 45 days of therapy _ "That's personal, thank you, _ but said the toughest part was being away from home for son Charlie's first birthday on Feb. 8.
"And that hurts _ that hurts a lot," Woods said. "I vowed I would never miss another one after that. I can't go back to where I was. I want to be a part of my son's life and my daughter's life going forward and I missed his first birthday. That was very hard that day and something I regret, and I probably will for the rest of my life."
Woods picked a good playing partner Monday. Fred Couples is among the most popular players in golf with his easygoing style, and he drew most of the applause. The gallery grew in size with every hole, and fans filled an area the size of the outfield at Amen Corner, a scene typical of the final round Sunday.
"He made a blunder for a while," Couples said. "I think he was happy to be out there. I never felt like there was going to be a problem. This tournament is great, and it's better because Tiger is here. They can't touch him and feel him, but they can yell for him. That's what they did for four hours. It was fun to see."
Several big-name sponsors dropped Woods, while Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette unit distanced itself by no longer including him in its ads. But the company said in a statement Monday that it looks forward to seeing Woods return to the course _ and took note of his new facial hair.
"The goatee is part of a well-groomed look," the razor and shaving cream company said.
John Sweeney, director of sports communication at the University of North Carolina's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the news conference did little to help or hurt Woods' marketability and is unlikely to change the minds of the companies that dropped him, including Accenture and Gatorade.
"He's doing some proper things to repair an incredibly damaged legacy, but it's going to take a couple of years here," Sweeney said.


Updated : 2021-04-20 13:22 GMT+08:00