US PG boss believes Woods’ apology ‘heartfelt’

U.S. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem applauded Tiger Woods’

statement on Friday, calling it good news for the tour.

Finchem, speaking in a question-and-answer session with

reporters, said Woods’ words were “heartfelt” and a clear sign

that the world’s No. 1 golfer was focused on getting his personal

life turned around.

“He clearly recognizes that there has been serious impact to a

wide range of individuals and organizations,” Finchem said in a

17-minute interview session. “I thought it was particularly

telling that he specifically addressed parents of children, the

parents being individuals who had encouraged their children to look

at him as a role model, and he specifically referenced that.

“But overall my take was that he is very focused on these

issues. He’s taking the steps that he and whatever professional

assistance he’s receiving suggest and that he’s committed to the

course that he laid out, and I thought it was a compelling

commitment statement.”

Woods talked for more than 13 minutes at TPC Sawgrass, home of

the tour. About 40 people were in the room, including his mother,

with an untold number watching around the world as he made his

public confession.

Admitting he felt he “deserved to enjoy the temptations” that

came with his success, Woods said he was solely responsible for his

actions. “I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish

behavior,” Woods said.

Finchem said he has received mixed reaction since Woods’ traffic

accident o n Nov. 27 triggered shocking revelations about serial

infidelity.

“There’s an anger in some quarters, but mainly there is a sense

of sadness that he’s an American hero and he’s had these issues,”

Finchem said. “But at the end of the day, he’s a human being. We

all make mistakes. We all have made mistakes. And when we’re lucky,

we learn from those mistakes and we get to be better people. And it

seems to me that’s the course that he is on.”

Finchem called Woods’ statement good news because the golfer

plans to return to the tour and could be back this year.

Although Finchem said Woods’ absence might not have an immediate

impact on the tour, he added a prolonged leave could affect the

tour’s long-term relationship with television partners.

“He clearly has taken the first, very visible step in the road

to that return,” Finchem said. “So all of that pleases us a great

deal.”

Finchem said Woods had given him no indication when he might

return.

“My sense is that … he will play when he’s ready and when he

thinks he can compete,” Finchem said. “But he has prioritized

clearly now over the last three months getting to a certain point

in the issues he’s dealing with before he wants to take that step,

and only he can make that decision.

“But I have no timeline in my own mind as to when that would

be.”

Finchem also defended Woods’ decision to not take questions and

indicated he could be subjected to “any range of questions” upon

his return to golf.

“Everybody has an opinion on that, and we all want to see,

particularly in this country, an individual in any circumstance be

subjected to difficult scrutiny and questioning,” Finchem said.

“But I think given the history of his involvement with the media,

which is enormous, and the subject matter here, and where he is in

dealing with his issues, and this being part obviously of the

therapy that he’s receiving, I didn’t think it was

inappropriate.

“And candidly, I’ll just be honest, personally, what else do we

need to know at this point?”