Tiger Woods said Friday he is taking an indefinite leave from golf to try to save his marriage, the biggest fallout yet from two shocking weeks filled with allegations of rampant extramarital affairs.
“I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person,” Woods said on his Web site.
Woods and his wife, Elin, have been married five years and have a 2-year-old daughter and a 10-month-old son.
The announcement came two weeks after Woods crashed his SUV into a tree outside his Florida home, setting in motion a stunning downfall for the world’s No. 1 player who for 13 years rarely made news off the golf course. One woman who said she had a 31-month affair with Woods shared a voice mail that she said Woods left her two nights before his Nov. 27 accident.
“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,” Woods said. “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.”
Woods has not been seen in public since the accident.
He gave no indication when he might return in what could be a pivotal year as he pursues the record 18 major championships won by Jack Nicklaus. Woods, who did not win a major this year, has 14.
Craig Parry, who played a practice round with Woods in Australia last month, said Woods brought the problems on himself.
“What he did was totally wrong,” Parry said at the Australian PGA Championship. “And he’s got no one to blame except himself. You can look at other people, but he’s the one who’s got to look in the mirror.”
Kelly, Stricker share lead
Naples, Fla. — Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker are tied with Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank for the lead of the Shark Shootout at 6-under 66. Tim Clark and Chad Campbell are in third place, one back at 5 under, along with Steve Flesch and Dustin Johnson.
Chiefs avoid TV blackout
Kansas City, Mo. — The local TV streak continues for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs announced Friday they had sold enough tickets to Sunday’s game with Buffalo (4-8) to avoid a television blackout for the 156th straight game.
The Chiefs (3-9) have not had a game blacked out since late in the 1990 season. They requested a 24-hour extension from the NFL on Thursday because there were still tickets to be sold.
The streak could be in trouble next week because the two-win Cleveland Browns are the final home opponent.
Bills lineman out for year
Orchard Park, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills starting left tackle Demetrius Bell was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. The Bills promoted offensive lineman Andre Ramsey from their practice squad Friday to replace Bell.
Titans’ Young questionable
Nashville, Tenn. — Tennessee quarterback Vince Young is questionable for Sunday’s game against St. Louis after re-aggravating his sore right knee. Young watched as Kerry Collins took all the first-team reps in Friday’s practice.
49ers LB Ulbrich retiring
Santa Clara, Calif. — Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich is retiring after 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Ulbrich has been contemplating retirement since sustaining a severe concussion during an Oct. 11 game against the Atlanta Falcons. He was placed on injured reserve eight days later.
Bucs’ Trueblood fined
New York — Tampa Bay right tackle Jeremy Trueblood has been fined $25,000 by the NFL for unnecessary roughness, while Tennessee defensive tackle Tony Brown was fined $20,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. The NFL announced the fines on Friday.
Order granted against Suggs
Baltimore — A judge has granted a protective order barring Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs from contact with the mother of his two children. Suggs agreed to the protective order and did not admit any wrongdoing.
Irish introduce Kelly
South Bend, Ind. — Brian Kelly has his dream job. Now he has to figure out how to turn Notre Dame back into a national championship contender.
The former Cincinnati coach was introduced Friday as the new coach of the Fighting Irish, a storied program that hasn’t won a title in 21 years. With his family watching from the middle of the football auditorium and with a standing-room crowd of more than 200 people listening, Kelly said he knows there are challenges and he’s ready for them.
Illinois’ Zook to return
Champaign, Ill. — Ron Zook will be back at Illinois next season. Illinois spokesman Kent Brown confirmed Friday that Zook won’t be fired. Zook’s future at Illinois had been the subject of speculation among fans and others after a 3-9 season.
Rodriguez joins Nationals
Washington — Ivan Rodriguez has signed a $6 million, two-year deal with the Washington Nationals after passing a physical. The 38-year-old catcher said on Friday that he wants to be an everyday player. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, however, wants Rodriguez to split time with Jesus Flores, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and is supposed to be ready for spring training.
Rays obtain reliever Soriano
St. Petersburg, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves on Friday, acquiring right-handed pitcher Rafael Soriano and agreeing to a $7.25 million, one-year contract with the reliever. The deal sent right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Braves, who weren’t willing to give Soriano a long-term contract and recently signed free agent relievers Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito.
White Sox add reliever
Chicago — Reliever J.J. Putz has agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with the Chicago White Sox. Putz is 23-19 with a 3.24 earned-run average and 103 saves in 337 relief appearances over seven major-league seasons with Seattle and the New York Mets.