Woods has not played since winning the Aussie Masters last November
Tom Watson believes world number one Tiger Woods has to "show some humility" when he makes his return to golf.
Woods, 34, is taking an indefinite break from the game in order to tackle issues in his private life which surfaced at the end of last year.
He has not been seen in public since a car crash at the end of November.
"He messed up. He knows he messed up. The world knows he messed up. And he has to take ownership of that," said eight-time major winner Watson.
"One of the things that is not in question is what Tiger has to do, he has to take ownership of what he has done. He must get his personal life in order.
"And when he comes back, he has to show some humility to the public in the sense that, if I were him, it wouldn't be at a golf tournament where I would first come out.
"I would come out and do an interview and say 'I screwed up' and admit it. And (say), 'I'm going to change, I want my wife and family back, I have to earn her trust back'."
Watson, who has won the Open five times and came agonisingly close to a fairytale victory at last year's event at Turnberry, has also called on Woods to refine his on-course behaviour.
"I feel that he has not carried the same stature as other great players like Jack (Nicklaus), Arnold (Palmer), Byron Nelson, the Hogans, in the sense that there was language and club throwing on the golf course," said Watson.
"You can grant that of a young person that has not been out here for a while. But I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown," added Watson, who is making his first regular European Tour appearance since 1993 at this week's Dubai Desert Classic
Woods's personal life became headlines news when he crashed a car into a tree outside his Florida home in November and after weeks of press speculation, the 14-times golf major winner admitted to "infidelity".
He has lost a number of endorsements since the crash, including giant management consultancy firm Accenture and telecoms giant AT&T, while Gillette and watchmaker Tag Heuer have said they would be scaling down their use of the star.
Drinks manufacturer Gatorade has discontinued a line of Tiger Woods-branded energy drinks.
Watson is not the first elder statesman of the game to speak publicly about Woods, after Nicklaus said last month that he will find it harder to break his record of 18 majors if he does not compete this year.