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Tiger Woods Press Conference at the Masters

Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta Sunday. He took some swings. Predictably, the media swooned. (Would you be surprised if they analyzed his goatee, shirt choice, shades, and sweat spot?) There has been a lot of gawking, but nobody’s really said much around him. What is Tiger’s mental preparation going to be like? Will he drive 2.5 hours to Savannah for the only Perkins restaurant in the state? His much-anticipated press conference begins shortly, and after the jump, we’ll input highlights as they happen.

Tiger has the hat pulled kinda low. He opens with comments talking about playing with Craig, Freddy and Jim today. “What a great day today.” He’s “blown away” by the reception he got, presumably from fans. “Today was something that touched my heart pretty good.”

* Tiger apologizes to other golfers for having to take questions about his problems. “Hopefully after today the players can be left alone to focus on the Masters” in regard to “endure what they’ve had to endure the past few months.”

* Some guy opens with question about injuries (car accident) that sent him to the hospital. “Busted up lip, pretty sore neck.”

* Why didn’t you talk to police? “I did everything to the letter of the law. My lawyer gave me advice, and I followed that advice.”

* He talked about straying from his “core fundamentals.” [IE - Cheating on his wife left and right.] Thankfully, he left out Buddism. He did mention the “constant harassment” of his wife and family. “That’s tough on them. It’s very hard for us to heal.”

* [Camera just scanned the room of journalists. Damn, there must be 95 white guys for every one minority journalist.]

* Drug question! [Christine Brennan asked it] “Why did you feel it was necessary to have this particular doctor to come to your home?” Tiger, who mentioned Brennan’s name before answer: “He never gave me HGH or any PEDs. I’ve never taken them – or any illegal drug, ever.”

* Q: How nervous are you sitting here? “Sitting Here? Not that nervous. Out there … I didn’t know what to expect …”

* Q: Your response to the [critical] mainstream media? Tiger: “I was surprised … the times have changed as well … of course the media has been critical of me. They should.” Then, he strangely said something about the media (people in here) being “my friends.” [I'll have to re-wind for that later. Sounded clunky.]

* Another question about that shady doctor who Tiger worked with. “He’s worked with a lot of athletes.” Was pretty dismissive and short. Interesting to see if anyone presses him again.

* Rehab: “I’ve come out a much better person for it. I will still continue with my treatment, that’s not going to stop in the near future.” Guy shouts, “What was it for?” Tiger: “That’s personal, thank you.”

* Tiger: “I meditate again, religiously, like I used to.” [Question sounded like it was from Jason Whitlock.]

* Q: What happened in the 4 weeks between the accident and therapy? Tiger: “Just prior to Christmas, I made the decision to enter rehab. Having spent Christmas Day with my family was incredible. Having to go from there to treatment … that was a very difficult time. What people probably don’t realize is that from the time frame of it, I missed my son’s first birthday. I vowed to never miss another one after that.”

* Tiger: “Elin is not coming this week.”

* Q: How did you fool so many people for so long? Tiger: “Tom, I lied to myself … kept so many people in the dark.” [Tiger's eyes welled up here; he doesn't have his head up like he did early in the Q&A. Looks like he's hurting right now. Head looking down a lot.]

* “I’m trying as hard as I possibly can each and every day to get my life better and stronger.”

* Q: Did Ambien play a role in the car crash? Tiger was pretty dodgy .. something about the police … 166 pumps? I missed that, will rewind later. That felt close to a gotcha moment. [UPDATE: Readers say that Tiger said he paid the $166 fine.]

* “It’s amazing how many hugs I’ve gotten from the guys. I’m surprised by that.”

* Q: Why didn’t you do what you’re doing today, a few months ago? Tiger: “Which month?” [Kind of snappy.] Be specific. [British journalist fumbles] December? I wasn’t in the right place for it. January I was in rehab.”

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