March 21 — Tiger Woods pitched political hack Ari Fleischer off his PR team and then told ESPN that he was “living a life of a lie” before the world learned of his multiple extramarital affairs.
- Tiger Woods answered questions from ESPN and Golf Channel, as these photos illustrate
“I was doing a lot of things…that hurt a lot of people,” Woods told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi in one of his first two post-accident interviews. “Stripping away denial and rationalization you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly.”
More relaxed. In dialogues with ESPN and Golf Channel, each limited to some five minutes in length, Woods came across as far more sincere than his February 19 made-for-TV confession. Looking Rinaldi and Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman in the eyes, Wood appeared less scripted, more relaxed, and more repentant than he did in his earlier TV appearance.
In the meantime, Tilghman reported that presidential flack Fleischer, whom Woods hired recently to smooth his way back to competitive golf, had left Team Tiger, allegedly because he had a central part of the story. Like everything Tiger Woods-related, there’s likely far more to it than that, but that’s the official reason.
Upstaged again. And, oh yeah, Woods’ talks — which his people had embargoed until 7:30 p.m. — eclipsed not only March Madness but yet another PGA Tour event. The talks aired as Jim Furyk was finishing a one-stroke win at the Transitions Championship, his first tour win in three years.
“Jim Furyk the winner here,” said a Golf Channel talking head, “but the big discussion really is Tiger Woods, who is in transition himself.”
Disregarding the ghastly attempt at word play, it was Tiger being the center of attention once again. But, while Woods refused to discuss issues he said were between him and his wife, Elin Nordegren, this time he actually answered some questions from Rinaldi and Tilghman.
In some of his interview highlights, Woods:
- “Tried to stop” his “horrific” behavior, he told Tilghman.
- Was solely responsible for his actions. “I did it,” he said. “I’m the one who did those things and looking back on it now with a more clear head, I get it….It was disgusting behavior.”
- Did not seek treatment earlier because he “didn’t know I was that bad,” he told Rinaldi. “Strip away denial, rationalization. You strip all that away and you find the truth.”
- Said he was “a little nervous” about his upcoming return to competitive golf at the Masters.
Transcripts. You may read the Golf Channel interview here and the ESPN interview here.
The caddie on the bag for Furyk, by the way? Woods’ former looper and New England native, Mike “Fluff” Cowan. Yup, Fluff’s from Winslow, ME.
Did Woods agree to his first post-accident interviews to upstage an alleged mistress as well? Read how Joslyn James released X-rated sex texts reportedly from her famous lover.