Even as he became one of the world's best-known people, Tiger Woods said he was "living a life of a lie, I really was."
That admission came Sunday during an interview with Tom Rinaldi of ESPN, the first time Woods faced a reporter's questions since the vehicular accident in November that began unraveling his life.
"A lot of ugly things have happened," Woods said. "I've done some pretty bad things in my life. And it all came to a head."
The interviews were shown simultaneously at 7:30 p.m. Both Rinaldi and Tilghman said there were no restrictions on questions - only that they had to ask them in a five- to six-minute window.
It was another step in Woods' return to competition, set for the Masters April 8-11 in Augusta, Ga.
Woods would not go into what led to the vehicular accident, saying it was a private matter between him and his wife, Elin, and he would not say what he was treated for during 45 days in a clinic.
But he did not deny reports of multiple extramarital relationships, some with women who exposed sordid details in the news media.
Asked by Rinaldi about the depth of his infidelity, he said, "Well, just one is enough. Obviously that wasn't the case, and I've made my mistakes."
Rinaldi described Woods as "composed and cordial" but that "you could sense the weight he's been living with."
Tilghman, a friend of Woods' said, "He had a warm smile, and a gentle look." She also called him "incredibly fit" as he approaches his return. What reception does he expect?
"I am a little nervous about that, to be honest with you," he told Rinaldi. "It would be nice to hear a couple of claps here and there. But I also hope they clap for birdies, too."
He said he is unsure how much he will play in 2010.
Woods told Rinaldi coming clean to his wife and mother, Kultida, was difficult. "They have both been brutal," he said. "They've both been very tough, because I hurt them the most.
"I saw a person I never thought I would ever become," he said. "I got away from my core values. . . . Just when I didn't think I could get lower, I got lower."
He told Tilghman, "I tried to stop and I couldn't stop; it was horrific."
Woods said becoming a punch line was "hurtful," but he added, "I get it. I can understand why people would say these things, because it was disgusting behavior. It's hard to believe that was me, looking back on it now."
Rinaldi asked Woods why he got married.
"Why?" he said. "Because I loved her. I loved Elin with everything I have. And that's something that makes me feel even worse."
Tilghman asked about the current state of his marriage. "We're working on it," he said. "It's a process that will remain private between her and I."