Golfing great Tiger Woods has apologized to his family in the face of mounting speculation that infidelity may have triggered an unexplained car crash last week.
In a statement Woods said “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”
BBC Sport reported that Woods was actually found bleeding and semi-conscious after his car hit a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida home.
He was charged with careless driving, which carries a $164 fine and four points on his driving record.
Woods who is regarded as one of sports most saleable athletes because of his hitherto “clean” image has huge sponsorship deals with Nike and GM among others and in fact was among a roster of sporting greats in a Nike ad that includes NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao.
Woods has been married to his Swedish wife Elin for five years and has two young children.
BBC Sport said Woods rumors that physical violence played any role in the incident, saying they were “utterly false and malicious”.
At the same time he, in a sense, lectured media saying “Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions” even as he added that he would “strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves.”
Woods issued the statement after an American gossip magazine alleged that a Los Angeles cocktail waitress had claimed to having had a 31-month affair with Woods.
Us Weekly magazine posted online an audio clip of what was purported to be Tiger Woods begging the 24-year-old woman to take her name off her voicemail greeting in order to hide their affair. The caller’s identity has not been verified.
In his statement, Woods also appealed for privacy for his family.
“Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means.I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”
The golfer also offered a “profound apology” to his supporters.
Woods has become an international sporting icon since winning his first major in 1997 at the age of 21. The 33-year-old American, who is just four short of equalling Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major victories, is regarded as one of the world’s all-time great golfers.
BBC Sport said Woods has been fiercely protective of his personal life, and his clean-cut image has helped him amass a fortune through product endorsements and appearance fees.