Tiger Woods: 'I'm so much better now because of this past year'
Tiger Woods took another step back into the spotlight with an interview on the "Mike and Mike" show on ESPN this morning. The conversation is another stop on his accessibility tour -- he has joined Twitter and written an essay for Newsweek -- ahead of next week's first anniversary of the Thanksgiving incident that flipped his life.
Excerpts from the interview, which began with a gimme "why now?" question from Mike Greenberg (listen to the entire interview here):
"I think it's about time I basically made a connection to the fans who've been absolutely incredible to me over the last year. I've gone through some pretty rough times, pretty low moments, but I just want to say thank you to them and basically reconnect with them."
The best part about phone interviews is getting to wear shorts.
About the events of last Thanksgiving...
"Yeah, well, unfortunately, I've talked about Thanksgiving for the last year, so I think I've kind of exhausted that subject. If that didn't happen, I don't think I'd be as blessed and balanced as I am now."
On whether he'd have changed without the Thanksgiving incident
"I don't know. That's speculation. I really don't know. All I know is what's transpired in my life and where I am now. I'm so much better now because of this past year. Obviously, it was very difficult on a lot of people, especially those closest to me. But it's been the best thing for me."
On how what he thought he knew about himself had changed
"It was just kind of a slow, gradual process where I had slipped away from my core values and my upbringing. ... It took years of it, but eventually it led me to where I was at. It was not a very pleasant feeling. It wasn't a very good place to be. It didn't feel
balanced. Certainly it was very destructive."
On what was the worst part of dominating the news cycle
"I think the worst part of it was those closest to me, the ones I loved and cared about so much, how much I had hurt them with my behavior. [That's] something I've talked about the last year with everyone. ... As I've said it was the best thing for me to go through that and to come out on the other side and look where I'm at now and how much better I feel. I mean, I feel so much better and everything is in a much better perspective now."
On the media coverage
"I think that was very difficult. Certainly it was difficult for me, but it was also more difficult for my kids. They were feeling the effects of it, unfortunately. It was difficult on everyone. Hey, I caused it. I take full responsibility for my actions and here I am."
On what he will one day tell his children about the life he led
"Absolutely the truth. What I had done. What I did. Not even God can change the past. What I did was what I did. I take full responsibility for what my actions. Tell them the truth. However long that takes for them to, wherever the conversation may lead, sit down there and talk them face to face, eyeball to eyeball."
"My dad has always said to me that love is a given, but trust and respect are earned. That's something that I will have to earn, the trust and respect from my kids. There's no doubt about that. That'll take time. That happens over the course of time."
On which friends were in his corner
"I have some very close friends and some people who have been with me for a very long time. We've had numerous long talks about what has happened in my life and where I need to go and how I need to get there. That's something I'm very thankful for."
"I found out how strong and how resilient my friends are and how lucky I am to have them in my life. ... They helped me go through some pretty tough times and helped me be more introspective. I've just met some good people along the way as well."
On high-profile friends and whether he had to shut them out
"What I basically did is the people I've known the longest and who are the closet to me are who I relied on. If you're lucky enough to have three people in your life that you're close to, then you're very blessed and I certainly have that."
On whether he's a happier man now
| November 18, 2010; 8:19 AM ET
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