Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Tiger Woods admits 'I have let my family down'

Elin and Tiger Woods, Sept 2009
Tiger and Elin Woods were married in 2004 and have two children

Golf star Tiger Woods has apologised to his family, amid continuing speculation about his private life following a car crash last week.

"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," he said in a statement, without elaborating further.

"I have not been true to my values and the behaviour my family deserves."

Woods was 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 (£98) fine and four points on his driving record.

'Personal sins'

Tiger Woods
Born: Eldrick Woods in December 1975 in Cypress, California
First major title: In 1997, less than a year after turning professional
Winner: Of 71 official PGA Tour events, including 14 majors
Described as world's most marketable athlete, sponsorship deals with GM, Nike and others

The 14-time major champion has been married to his Swedish wife Elin for five years and has two young children.

He denied rumours that physical violence played any role in the incident, saying they were "utterly false and malicious".

In his statement, he also said: "Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

"I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves."

His statement follows a story in a US gossip magazine in which a Los Angeles cocktail waitress claims to have 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.

'Closed doors'

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 realise the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means," he said in the statement.

"I am dealing with my behaviour 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.

He 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.

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