As news of his extra-marital liaisons poured in from various corners of the country in a torrent, the beleaguered golf champion Tiger Woods has chosen to taken a break - hoping to save his marriage thereby. And it is going to be an indefinite break, he says. Apparently he will resume playing only after reassuring his wife that he would be a good boy hereafter. His Swedish wife Elin Nordegren had warned him to choose between the game and her, it has been reported.
"After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person," Woods said on his website.
"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. 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.
I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.
Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.
After initial allegations of extramarital affairs and Woods' earlier admission of undisclosed "transgressions," his sponsors pledged their support and opted to retain the golfer as their spokesman.
It was not immediately clear how the proposed indefinite break would affect his sponsorships, which include Nike, Gillette, Gatorade and Electronic Arts.
"He is the best golfer in the world and one of the greatest athletes of his era," Nike spokeswoman Beth Gast said in a statement. "We look forward to his return to golf. He and his family have Nike's full support."
The statement did not elaborate on whether Woods' announcement would impact his business relationship with the sports company, which has worked with him for more than a decade.
EA Sports, the company that makes Woods' video game, also said it is standing behind the golfer.
"We respect that this is a very difficult and private situation for Tiger and his family. At this time, the strategy for our Tiger Woods PGA TOUR business remains unchanged," said David Tinson, a company spokesman.
Woods has won three U.S. Open titles and the Masters tournament and the PGA tournament each four times. The PGA Tour said it supports Woods and looks forward to his return to the game.
"We fully support Tiger's decision to step away from competitive golf to focus on his family. His priorities are where they need to be, and we will continue to respect and honor his family's request for privacy," the PGA Tour said in a statement Friday. "We look forward to Tiger's return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him."
Meantime he has won an injunction banning the English media from publishing new details about his personal life, after instructing London-based lawyers to take legal action. But no such action can be contemplated against anyone in the US itself, it is said. Hence more juicy material, originating from the US, could still become public.