Take a break Tiger. Come back soon, you're a golfer, not a priest.
THE statement on Tiger Woods' website is short and to the point. He's had enough. Enough of the scandal, enough of the digging into his private life, enough of reading about the endless list of so-called "birdies" he is alleged to have "chipped out of the rough".
The world's biggest sporting attraction is taking "an indefinite break" in an attempt to "repair the damage I've done". It's heart-rending stuff.
But he's going down fighting - bowing out after winning an injunction in Britain to stop further allegations and even, the US media are suggesting, the publication of naked pictures of the World's No1 golfer's "equipment". And we're not talking about his 1 wood.
As he heads off for what his agents IMG are calling "a hiatus", the statement reads: "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. 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.
"I would like to ask everyone for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.
"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. Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period."
Will it bring to an end the endless tabloid stories about his affairs, brought on by the late-night car crash two weeks ago. He hasn't been seen since, we haven't been able to assess the nature of his "facial injuries" or how they were caused when his wife got wind of what was about to break.
Without that closure, the machine grinds on. Just yesterday, Britain's up-market Daily Telegraph, by no means a scandal sheet, ran a story about one of the alleged mistresses - what's the birdie count now? Six, seven? - Jamie Jungers with a picture of her posing in a bikini with a motorbike. The 26-year-old Las Vegas cocktail waitress has been on telly in the US claiming she didn't get paid for sex and only earned "a broken heart" from her relationship with Tiger.
These are torrid times for the once squeaky-clean golfer, though his major sponsors Nike say they will stand by him. But for how long? And when will we see the world's greatest golfer back on course again?
Soon we hope. He's a golfer, not a priest.
Labels: birdies, indefinite break, injunction, scandal, Tiger Woods, world's No1 golfer