Tiger Woods answered 48 questions during his 35 minute press conference. But some of the answers were of the non-commital kind that will leave us wondering what exactly happened the night of November 27, when he crashed his car into a tree.
Asked why he didn’t speak to police in the five weeks that elapsed between his accident and his admission to therapy, he said: “I did everything to the letter of the law. The lawyers gave me advice and I followed that advice, and again, I did everything to the letter of the law.”
Woods’ alleged addiciton to the prescription drugs, Ambien and Vicodin, was next on the list and he vigourously denied that he had ever received treatment a problem.
“I’ve taken them, yes,” he said. “I’ve had some, as everyone knows, pretty interesting knee situations over the years. I’ve had, what, four operations now on my left knee. Then last year with my torn Achilles, it hurt quite a bit at times.
“And yeah, I did take that, and I took most of the time I was on the Ambien was when my dad was sick and when my dad died; that was a tough time in my life. So that’s when I was still taking some of those things to help me sleep. And that’s about it.”
Was in his treatment for drug addiciton? “No,” he said. “Mm‑hmm.”
So why was he in rehab? “That’s personal, thank you.”
Did Ambien play a role in the car crash? You were described by the witnesses as mumbling, snoring, obviously sockless and according to the police hospital record, you were admitted as a possible OD?
Dodging the question, he said: “Well, the police investigated the accident and they cited me 166 bucks and it’s a closed case.”
When Woods made his televised apology in February, he hinted that it might be some time before he returned to the game.
“I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don’t know when that day will be,” he said. “I don’t rule out that it will be this year.”
The cynics had a field day when he announced a few weeks later that he was coming back at the Masters. Did he genuinely believe that at the time? Was coming back entirely his decision and did he have the blessing of his wife and family?
“When I gave my speech in February, I had no intentions of playing golf in the near future at all,” Woods said. “I just had barely started practicing two days prior to that. …. And Hank came down and we started working again and that felt great. It felt like old times. … it felt like old times to have Hank out there working on my game and for hours and hours and hours on end, and that’s when I made the decision to come back and play.”
Woods later revealed that neither his wife Elin nor his two children would be joining him at Augusta.
Yet while he claimed that he was in Augusta to win, he confessed that he was rusty and admitted that his troubles had put his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’s record in perspective.
He said: “When I went through that period when my father was sick and my father passed away, it put things in perspective real quick. And when my kids were born, again, it put it in perspective. And then what I’ve done here, it puts it in perspective; it’s that it’s not about championships. It’s about how you live your life.
“And I had not done that the right way for a while, and I needed to change that. And going forward, I need to be a better man going forward than I was before.”
Addressing this year’s Masters, he added: “Well, the fact that I haven’t really played at all, that’s a little bit concerning. I’m hoping I get my feel back quickly, you know, feel for the game, feel for shots, feel more how my body is reacting and what my distances are going to be.
“I hope I get that back, you know, relatively quickly. You know, maybe hopefully the first hole. But if not, please hope it’s the second hole. But that’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing that.”
The British press wanted to know about his interest in playing the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and Woods certainly didn’t shoot down the idea.
“Well, as of right now, I’m not on the team, am I?, he said to gales of laughter. “I’m not on the team point‑wise. So I have a long way to go.”
Would he like to play?
“Would I like to play in it?” he repeated. “If I qualify.”