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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
The Tiger Woods Scandal
Aired December 18, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE DOUGLAS, HOST, THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW: So right now, I would like you to meet Tiger Woods and his father Earl Woods.
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: My dad has always been adamant all through my childhood. Played the game of golf, play from your heart and soul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tiger Woods is the best that's ever played.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 14 majors, over $100 million in prize money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911: What's your emergency?
WOODS: I need ambulance immediately. I have someone down in front of my house. They hit a pole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL, CORRESPONDENT, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: She said she was completely blind sided on Thanksgiving Day.
WOODS: I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated.
VERONICA DANIELS, FORMER PORN ACTRESS: I was so madly in love, I couldn't walk away.
DAVID DUSEK, DEPUTY EDITOR, GOLF.COM: I think that Tiger hit professionally rock bottom.
EARL WOODS, JR., TIGER WOODS' OLDER BROTHER: I think that our father was a part of Tiger so much that when he passed, Tiger became lost.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): These are the historic grounds of the East Lake Golf Club just outside Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the greatest golfers in the world have competed right here. Tiger Woods won the tour championship here in 2007. And now he is on the verge of shattering golf's most coveted record, Jack Nicklaus' 18 major victories. But now Tiger's career is crashing after a year that proved difficult, both on and off the course.
WOODS: You know, I still love to play golf and I love it. I'm just getting a balance. And I'm kind of finding the right balance going forward.
HOLMES (voice-over): He was the athlete of the decade. Dominating his sport by crushing the competition.
DUSEK: The thing that set Tiger apart right from the get go was that he was an athlete playing golf. Tiger would have been a great athlete in any sport shows.
HOLMES: Tiger's athletic abilities combined with a million- dollar smile, rake in even more in endorsements. According to "Forbes" magazine, Woods is the first athlete to earn an estimated $1 billion in his career. "Golf Digest" reporter David Dusek has covered Tiger the last ten years.
DUSEK: I mean, there are certain athletes and certain people when they walk into the room, you know, everybody start to feel that presence. Tiger has got that times ten.
HOLMES: Tiger was at the height of his career.
DUSEK: You throw in a beautiful wife, great looking kids and complete with really idyllic perfect family life for what we thought was this perfect guy. Madison Avenue can't paint a picture any prettier than that.
HOLMES: But Tiger's life was much more complicated. Away from the cameras, away from his family, Tiger slipped into the shadows of a secret life. A life the world would soon discover.
911: What's your emergency?
HOLMES: November 27th, 2009. A frantic call for help.
WOODS: I need an ambulance immediately. I have someone down in front of my house. They hit a pole.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911: OK. Are you able to tell if he's breathing?
WOODS: No. I can't tell right now.
911: All right. We do have help on the way. What color is his car, too?
WOODS: It's a black Escalade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The driver of that black mangled Escalade, Tiger Woods. These pictures were taken by TMZ.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My two officers arrived at the scene. And I noticed Tiger Woods laying on the ground in front of his vehicle with his wife over him rendering first-aid.
HOLMES: Tiger was treated at an Orlando, Florida hospital and released the same day. From all indications it appeared to be just a routine accident. But the story refused to fade from the headlines as many questions went unanswered.
Where was Woods going at 2:30 in the morning? Had there been a domestic dispute?
WESTFALL: Elin said that he left the house and didn't come back.
HOLMES: "People" magazine correspondent Sandra Sobieraj Westfall has done the only interview with Elin Nordegren since the accident.
WESTFALL: She went out to look for him and then she did everything she could to get him out of the car when she found him unconscious in the car. All she wanted people to know was that she is not violent. She would never and never has taken a golf club to her husband.
HOLMES: A few days later, Tiger's carefully crafted image began to crumble as multiple mistresses came forward with allegations of infidelity. Text messages and voicemails were provided as evidence.
WOODS: Hey, it's Tiger. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone.
HOLMES: Under pressure, Woods was eventually forced to explain his behavior.
WOODS: What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in.
DANIELS: I don't think he really is sorry. I think he is sorry he got caught.
HOLMES: The former porn actress Veronica Daniels was one of the women who came forward with claims of a relationship.
DANIELS: I didn't know I was going to end up falling in love and I didn't know I was going to end up going on for three years.
HOLMES: One of the most admired athletes in the world had reached rock bottom. Many speculated his career was over.
EARL WOODS JR.: I had no idea that there was any infidelity. You know, I was very shocked. And I thought of my dad. My dad was here. It was nice. We go to the hotel room.
HOLMES: Growing up, a few people knew Tiger better than his half brother, Earl Woods Jr. (on camera): What kind of kid was Tiger?
EARL WOODS JR.: Well, Tiger was a, kind of a nerd, you know. He was a computer guy. And he knew a lot about those computers at a young age
HOLMES (voice-over): Earl Woods Jr. is the oldest of three children from his father's previous marriage. Earl Woods Sr. was a Green Beret stationed in Thailand. It was there that he met Tida Punsawad. They married and moved to California.
Their son Eldrick was born on December 30th, 1975. He was nickname Tiger after one of his father's war buddies. Despite the 22- year age difference, Earl Woods Jr. says he has fond memories of his younger brother.
EARL WOODS JR.: They had a conversation with Tiger when he was little. I said, we don't do anything half ass. You're either all or you're not at all. And so he loved that.
HOLMES: Tiger could barely walk when he was introduced to the game of golf.
EARL WOODS JR.: He was in the high chair. He used to watch my dad go out in the garage. He turned on his music and smoke his cigarettes, and hit balls into the net. And one day, Tiger, you know, got down and started grabbing the clubs and the clubs were two times his height. And he starts swinging and my dad said, come here, let me show you how to do it.
HOLMES: By the time he was 3, Tiger has shot an astonishing 48 on a 9-hole golf course.
So right now I would like you to meet Tiger Woods and his father Earl Woods.
HOLMES: Scoring his first taste of early fame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who this is? You know who this man is?
HOLMES: On "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1978, Tiger showed off his swing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's perfect.
HOLMES: And his sense of humor, to a national audience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tap it right in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EARL WOODS JR.: The crowd loved him. And it was an indication of things to come. HOLMES: Tiger began his golf education in earnest, taught by his father, disciplined by his mother.
WOODS: My mom was a tough one. My dad was always the one who was more lenient.
HOLMES: But when Tiger turns pro, fame and fortune prove costly.
EARL WOODS JR.: That was the last I ever saw him.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Don Lemon. Here's a look at your top stories this hour.
An historic day for gay rights. Gays and lesbians will be able to serve openly in the military after the Senate repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy by a 65-31 vote. The House already passed it. Now it is awaiting the president's signature.
A massive winter storm has grounded all flights at London's Heathrow Airport. As of right now, it is closed indefinitely. It was the same story I should say, across much of Europe today with blizzard conditions from northern Ireland to Bulgaria. Up to 40 inches. More than three feet has fallen in parts of Bulgaria.
Make sure you join me at the bottom of the hour for an update on the case of a serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper. Nearly 1,000 images of women were found in possession of the man charged in the case. L.A. police say they may have identified some of them after posting 150 online. A reporter from the "Los Angeles Times" will join us with the very latest on that investigation.
Those are your headlines. More of DOWNFALL: THE TIGER WOODS SCANDAL after the break.
WOODS: I guess hello world, huh? Well, thank you for being here today.
HOLMES (voice-over): August 29th, 1996. After just two years of college at Stanford, Tiger Woods stood in a Milwaukee Banquet Hall and announced his decision to turn pro. And why not? He had just captured his third consecutive U.S. amateur championship.
DUSEK: He had a presence about him that clearly showed he was going to not just be a professional player, but he had the potential to be a great one.
HOLMES: In just his first year as a pro, Tiger earned $790,000 on the tour. And that was pocket change compared to endorsement deals reportedly worth $43 million. But just as Tiger's career began to skyrocket, his older brother noticed a change.
EARL WOODS JR.: When he turned pro, it became more difficult to have time with him. And since then, it is like, it is almost as though we don't measure up.
HOLMES: Tiger Woods was in demand, and it wasn't all just business. In 2004, Tiger married long-time girlfriend Swedish native Elin Nordegren.
WESTFALL: She resisted him at first. She wasn't into golf. She certainly wasn't into celebrities, and she says when she first came over here, she had a little bit of a language barrier. But that he was fun and that they laughed. They had a great time together. He made her believe in love.
HOLMES: They had two children. A daughter, Sam, and Charlie, their son. They were a family. Many thought the perfect family. But soon, his siblings lost contact with him.
EARL WOODS, JR.: I haven't spoken to Tiger since 2006. We've sent him a couple of letters, and I've tried to call a couple of times to update him on what's going on with the family, because we are a family. And I've gotten no response.
HOLMES (on camera): You haven't talked to your brother, your blood, since 2006. Now there has to be something else going on. Was there some tension of some kind? Why he would just cut the family off?
EARL WOODS, JR.: There were reports that I had borrowed money from him and not paid him back. There was a family argument that split the family up. And none of that is true.
HOLMES (voice-over): In fact, the last time he says he saw his little brother was at their father's funeral.
EARL WOODS, JR.: He was gracious enough to allow us to join him on the jet to take my dad to Kansas to bury his remains. And I remember we came of the jet, walked down the runway, hugged. Hey, how are you doing? He went that way with the entourage and we went this way. And that was the last I ever saw him.
HOLMES: Earl Woods Jr. says their father's death had a major impact on Tiger.
EARL WOODS, JR.: What I saw was that he lost a part of himself. I think that our father was a part of tiger so much that when he passed, Tiger became lost. That he didn't know how to fill that void.
HOLMES: A few months before Tiger's father lost his battle to cancer, former porn actress Veronica Daniels who also goes by the stage name of Jocelyn James, claims her three-year relationship with the golfer began.
DANIELS: It was around March of 2006. We would text every day throughout the day. HOLMES (on camera): How often would you see him after that initial meeting?
DANIELS: A few times a month. He would either come to Vegas, you know, or he would have me come out to wherever he was playing.
HOLMES: Did you feel like you had a boyfriend?
DANIELS: Yeah. I did. And you know, I stopped seeing other people. I got out of the adult business because it was something that really bothered him.
HOLMES: Why were you making these types of sacrifices and changes in your life for him? Did you ever ask him to make any kinds of changes in his life for you?
DANIELS: The only thing I told him was, you know, just please be honest with me. You tell me that I'm the only other woman in your life besides your wife. You know, just don't break my trust and don't hurt my feelings.
HOLMES: Daniels claimed she last spoke to Tiger Woods on Thanksgiving Day 2009. Just hours later, she heard about his accident.
DANIELS: I called my best friend and I'm like, you know, God, I hope he's OK.
HOLMES: And when Tiger Woods came forward and admitted cheating on his wife, Daniels learned she wasn't the only one.
DANIELS: I was like, I knew it. I knew it. I was like, and he bold faced lied to me. He lied -- not only lied to me through text message, he lied to my face.
HOLMES: Daniels was so upset that she posted 120 text messages online that she claimed the golfer send her during the relationship. Today, her anger seems to have subsided.
DANIELS: I don't think he was playing me and using me. I think that there was something that each of us brought to the relationship and gave to each other that we both needed and that's why we couldn't walk away from each other.
HOLMES: Did you ever feel bad for Elin?
DANIELS: All the time, because I knew what it felt like. I've been in her shoes before.
HOLMES: We reached out to Tiger Woods' management company. There was no response to Daniel's claim or to comments made by his older brother.
(on camera) Veronica Daniels released those text messages two days after Tiger Woods announced he was coming back to golf. Tiger's comeback would be on golf's grandest stage. The Masters. (voice-over) It was at The Masters in 1997. Tiger Woods had become a household name. He won by a record 12 stroke, becoming the first man of color to wear the green jacket and the youngest champion in Masters' history.
But in 2010, Tiger failed to reclaim the magic tying for fourth. And his game went downhill from there. Tiger finished the year winless for the first time in his professional career.
DUSEK: He missed some cuts. He looked as bad as a golfer as he has ever looked at times. I think that Tiger hit professionally rock bottom.
HOLMES: In October 2010, Tiger's poor performances cost him the ranking of the best golfer in the world. A title he held for a record 281 straight weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how difficult was it looking back for you to focus on the game of golf when you were on the golf course this year?
WOODS: Hardly anyone can ever imagine unless you've gone through it before yourself.
HOLMES: The tough course ahead for Tiger? The comeback challenge of his career.
GLORIA ALLRED, DANIELS' ATTORNEY: I believe in deeds, not words. He's trying to rehabilitate his image. There is a lot at stake.
HOLMES (voice-over): Nearly a year after scandal rocked his personal and professional life --
WOODS: It's been a very successful year even though it was a very painful year as well.
HOLMES: Tiger Woods goes on a media blitz. He starts communicating with fans via Twitter. And the peers on ESPN's talk radio show, "Mike And Mike."
WOODS (via telephone): The only way to rebuild it is basically to come to grips with who I am. And if I'm not in a position to where I'm happy, then obviously the fans are going to know it.
HOLMES: In a "Newsweek" article, Woods also shares his soul. It reads, "Self-reliance made me think I could tackle the world by myself. It made me think that if I was successful in golf, then I was invincible."
Some believe it is a ploy. Just another carefully crafted branding campaign.
DUSEK: As a guy who still relishes control, those are very controlled ways of bringing yourself into the public eye.
ALLRED: Well, he is trying to rehabilitate his image. There is a lot at stake. Millions and millions, hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake in endorsements and sponsorships.
HOLMES: According to "Sports Illustrated," in 2010, Tiger Woods raked in $70 million in endorsements. But the scandal cost him several sponsors. Deals worth an estimated $22 million.
WOODS: It's up to the sponsor if they feel that I can help their brand in some shape or form, it's up to them to decide that. My whole goal is to try to become a better person, a better golfer each and every day. And that hasn't changed.
HOLMES: But away from the tweets, the headlines, and the microphones, the question remains. Who is Tiger Woods?
In August of 2010, his six-year marriage ended. Elin Nordegren sent her own carefully crafted message to the public through "People" magazine's Sandra Sobieraj Westfall.
WESTFALL: It was clear she was holding on to the good memories that she had made a decision. She was going to focus on what was happy.
HOLMES: But the scandal had taken a noticeable physical toll.
WESTFALL: The woman that I sat down with at her kitchen table had lost a lot of weight. Her hair was falling out. She was clearly a woman who had gone through an awful lot of stress.
HOLMES: Nordegren's children also noticed her pain.
WESTFALL: She said I tried really hard not to cry in front of the kids, but you know, Sam said she needed to heal mommy's boo boo, and that boo boo was on her heart. She said in the end a marriage without love or trust wasn't going to be good for her children.
HOLMES: A child of divorce herself, Nordegren's plan is to return to private life.
(on camera) Do you think we'll hear from her again?
WESTFALL: I am absolutely convinced we won't hear from her again. We'll probably see her again. She is interested in doing some charitable work once she gets her college degree in psychology.
HOLMES: Has she gotten to the point of forgiving him yet?
WESTFALL: You know, she told me that she had gone through all the stages of grief. The last one being forgiveness and that she was still working on that.
HOLMES (voice-over): But Veronica Daniels who claims to be one of Tiger's mistresses is committed to speaking out.
(on camera) Given the Web site that you do have up with the text messages, why put that up if you're not trying to seek, if not some kind of financial benefit or maybe that 15 minutes of fame? Why even have that up?
DANIELS: That was just kind of like my ability to let the public know what I was being told.
HOLMES: Do you think a lot of people around the country really don't have sympathy for you?
DANIELS: Not at all. I mean, there are some that do, but they're like, you should have known better. You're the bad one.
I never lied to him.
ALLRED: They are entitled to be treated as human beings.
HOLMES: Attorney Gloria Allred publicly represented two of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses.
ALLRED: Hurt a woman, lie to a woman, take responsibility and say you're sorry and in some cases, do a lot more.
DANIELS: I'm still waiting for Tiger to take responsibility. Full responsibility for what he's done.
HOLMES (on camera): Do you wish him well?
DANIELS: Of course I do.
HOLMES: Have you forgiven him?
DANIELS: I'm over it.
HOLMES: But have you forgiven him?
DANIELS: I'm over it. There is nothing to me to forgive. There is no emotion anymore.
HOLMES (voice-over): As Daniels puts the scandal behind her, Earl Woods Jr. still believes in his famous brother's core values.
EARL WOODS, JR.: That's not the true Tiger. And, you know, he is not a womanizer. He may have done it, but that's not what he is about.
HOLMES (on camera): It sounds like in some way, a brother's love here. You're still defending your brother no matter what your relationship has been like in the past few years.
EARL WOODS, JR.: You get to know somebody when they're a family member and that core person doesn't really change. And I would have to say that in his heart, he is a good man.
HOLMES (voice-over): From a distance, he is rooting for his little brother's comeback.
(on camera) Do you think Tiger Woods will be able to ever dominate the game of golf like he once did?
EARL WOODS, JR.: There's no doubt in my mind that he can be as dominant, if not even better, to the end of his career.
HOLMES (voice-over): But his confidence isn't echoed by professionals who follow the game.
DUSEK: Tiger will never dominate golf the way he did before. And that's because his aura of invincibility has been cracked if not shattered completely.
HOLMES: At stake, Jack Nicklaus' coveted record of 18 major championships. Who will be known as the greatest golfer in history? Tiger Woods is not giving up the chase.
WOODS: My goal is to win every tournament I tee it up in, and I'm very excited about the future.