Hiatus: Woods Admits to Infidelity, Says He'll Take A Break From Golf


(CNN) -- Tiger Woods announced that he is taking "an indefinite break" from professional golf, according to a statement posted on his Web site Friday.

"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," the statement says. "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." 

The statement Friday was the first time Woods admitted to infidelity; in a previous statement, he referred to his "transgressions."

The golf phenomenon, who has won three U.S. Open titles and the Masters tournament and the PGA tournament each four times, said in the statement that he will spend his hiatus with his family. 

"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."

The 33-year-old golfer, who tops the sport's world rankings, has been mired in controversy since he crashed his car outside his Florida mansion late last month. The crash prompted authorities to cite him for careless driving and fine him $164. 

Woods was not required to talk to police about the wreck, and declined to talk with investigators on several occasions. 

 In the week following the crash, Woods apologized for "transgressions" that let his family down, on the same day that gossip magazine US Weekly published a report alleging that Woods had an affair with a 24-year-old cocktail waitress named Jaimee Grubbs. 

US Weekly's report followed a National Enquirer article before the crash that the athlete was having an affair with a New York nightclub hostess -- an assertion the hostess vigorously denied, according to The New York Post.

It was not immediately clear how Woods' apparent hiatus 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.

 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.

 The PGA Tour, a membership of professional golfers that also hosts its own golf tournaments, 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."

EA Sports, the company that makes a Woods' videogame, 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.

To read Woods entire statement click HERE.

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