(CNN) — In a tightly controlled televised statement, golfer Tiger Woods apologized Friday for his “irresponsible and selfish” behavior.
“I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you,” said the golfer, dressed in a blue button-down shirt and a blazer. “For all that I have done, I am so sorry. …
“I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.”
It was his first public appearance since his November car crash outside his home near Orlando, Florida — the beginning of what would become an torrent of bad news for the golfer.
The 11 a.m. ET event, at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, was carefully managed, with a small hand-picked crowd as an audience.
Although some members of the media were invited to listen to Woods’ remarks, they were not allowed to ask questions. The large majority of reporters and media were housed at least a half a mile away, where they watched the event on television.
Woods’ mother attended, although his wife, Elin Nordegren, did not.
The golfer’s statement came amid the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Accenture is among the companies that ended its relationship with the 34-year-old superstar.
Accenture spokesman Fred Hawrysh said Thursday that the company did not think Woods’ statement would be a distraction to the tournament, which began Wednesday in Dove Mountain, Arizona. Friday’s session will begin well after Woods’ remarks.
Woods — who has won the event three times, according to GolfWeek Magazine — has taken an indefinite break from his professional golfing career.
“I have tremendous confidence in the golf media covering the tournament,” Hawrysh said, explaining why he thought the statement wouldn’t take away from the golfing event.
Some golfers didn’t agree, however. “It’s selfish,” Ernie Els told GolfWeek. “You can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.”
The highly managed conditions of the statement also prompted the Golf Writers Association of America — which was invited to have three members present and then later negotiated to have six — to boycott the event.
The association’s president, Vartan Kupelian, said the group was still covering the event, but was simply not present in the room.
“As long as we’re not going to have the ability to ask questions, as long as we’re just going to be standing there like props, there’s no point of us being in the room,” he told CNN.
Former sportscaster Pat O’Brien criticized the way Woods seemed to be controlling the news conference.
“He might as well have done this on YouTube,” O’Brien said Thursday on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” “But I do think that he’s got to subject himself to some sort of question-and-answer at some point, otherwise people are just going to — it’s already a disaster.”
“If you listened to sports talk radio today, he’s just getting ripped to shreds,” O’Brien added.
Tiger’s agent said the golfer feels many of the issues he is dealing with are private but he still owes his fans an explanation.
“While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between him and his wife, he also recognizes that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him. He also let down his fans. He wants to begin the process of making amends, and that’s what he’s going to discuss,” Steinberg said.