Emotional Woods Apologizes for 'Selfish' Behavior

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida, Feb 19, 2010 (AFP) - An emotional Tiger Woods apologized for his "irresponsible and selfish behavior" Friday as the golf superstar broke his silence on the sex scandal that engulfed him last year. In a brutally honest self-assessment broadcast live around the world, the 34-year-old admitted to a string of infidelities and confirmed he had been undergoing treatment in a rehabilitation center for 45 days. However after repeatedly apologizing to family, friends and fans during his 13-minute address, Woods did not confirm when he would return to golf, saying only that it would be "one day," possibly this year. "I want to say to each of you simply and directly: I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in," Woods told a hand-picked audience of friends and journalists at the USPGA Tour Headquarters in Florida. "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame," a humbled Woods said, at times staring directly into the camera during his blunt admissions of wrongdoing and apology to his fans and associates. "For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for." Woods's squeaky-clean image was left in tatters last year after a mysterious late-night car crash outside his home in Florida was followed by a string of lurid revelations about his personal life. More than a dozen women were linked to the billionaire sports star in the weeks following the car crash. Woods later admitted "transgressions" but had not been seen or spoken in public until this week. On Friday he emerged before a spellbound nation for the biggest televised mea culpa since president Bill Clinton admitted an "inappropriate" relationship with Monica Lewinsky in 1998. Friday's apology even affected financial markets as Wall Street dealers halted trading to watch television screens. "It's hard to admit that I need help, but I do," Woods said. "For 45 days from the end of December to early February I was in in-patient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing," Woods said. "I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction." Woods said that during a sporting career which had seen him elevated to iconic status, and on course to become the most successful golfer in history, he had begun to feel a sense of entitlement. "I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. …