World No. 1 golfer Tiger Woods will end nearly three months of silence Friday at 11 a.m. ET when he speaks to the media for the first time about his middle-of-the-night accident that sparked shocking revelations about his infidelity.
Woods will talk to a small group of reporters from the clubhouse of the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., home of the PGA Tour.
"This is all about the next step," Mark Steinberg, his agent, told The Associated Press. "He's looking forward to it."
However, Woods will not take any questions, Steinberg added.
This is not a press conference," he said.
Woods will speak to a "small group of friends, colleagues and close associates" about his past and what he plans next, along with apologizing for his behaviour.
He said three wire services would be invited — The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg — and he was asking the Golf Writers Association of America to pick a small group of reporters to serve as a pool. Steinberg said there would be one pool camera, but it would be available live via satellite.
Steinberg said other writers with proper credentials could watch from a hotel ballroom more than a kilometre away.
Steinberg said in an email announcing the public appearance, "While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between he and his wife [Elin Nordegren], 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."
The timing is peculiar. It will be held during the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, and is sure to steal attention away from the first big event of the year. Accenture was the first sponsor to drop Woods after he became embroiled in a sex scandal in late November.
'A story in and of itself'
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he did not think Woods's appearance would undermine a World Golf Championship event.
"We have tournaments every week," Finchem said. "I think it's going to be a story in and of itself. A lot of people are going to be watching golf this week to see what the world of golf says about it, my guess is. So that will be a good thing."
As far as the PGA Tour's part in the Woods event, Finchem said: "We were asked to make the facility available and to help with the logistics. That's what we're doing."
Steinberg said only that Woods's appearance during the championship was "a matter of timing." Asked if it could have waited until Monday, he said, "No."
Woods made a spectacular fall from his perch atop golf. He was believed to have been the first athlete to gross $1 billion US in earnings and endorsements and, at 14 majors, was closing in on golf's record of 18 majors held by Jack Nicklaus.
It all collapsed in the early-morning hours after the U.S. Thanksgiving in November.
Talk of gossip magazines
Over the last few months, Woods has been on the cover of gossip magazines and the butt of jokes on national talk shows.
In the days before Woods's accident, a National Enquirer story alleged the world's No. 1 golfer had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess. Following the crash, a stream of women came forward to claim they had romantic relationships with Woods.
Woods admitted to "infidelity" in a statement on his website in mid-December and has been on an indefinite break from golf ever since.
"I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children," Woods said at the time. "I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try."