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Faldo: Tiger Woods faces 'long road' back

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Faldo on Woods' mea culpa
  • Nick Faldo says that "big" question surrounding the future of Tiger Woods still remains
  • Nike releases statement confirming full support to Woods and his family
  • John Daly's Twitter: "The biggest major Tiger is going to win now -- is to keep his family"

(CNN) -- Six-time former major champion Nick Faldo said that big questions surrounding the future of Tiger Woods still remain despite the world No. 1 apologizing for his "irresponsible and selfish behavior" in a public statement on Friday.

The apology from Woods -- which was broadcast around the world from the headquarters of the PGA Tour in Florida -- was the first public statement from the golfer since the 34-year-old admitted to "transgressions" following a Thanksgiving car crash.

However, in an exclusive interview with CNN, Faldo said the comments had done little to answer key questions: "It was a pretty complete apology and very embarrassing for him, to take the world stage and to apologize for what he has been up to."

"However, he still left the big question that we as golfers all wanted to know, and that's when he will come back to the course.

Tiger has only delayed the hard questions that will surely follow

"Instead he's decided to head back to therapy -- which I find difficult to understand as this man had an extremely strong mind on the the golf course.

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"I assume he's paying the bill as I can't believe that a man in a white coat would be telling Tiger what to do," Faldo added.

Faldo, who won the U.S. Masters on three occasions, added that Tiger faced a "long road" back to the top of the game.

"He is the center of attention -- there's so much talk and gossip behind his back [now], none of it very pretty. To come back now knowing that so many people are talking behind his back ... it will take a long road [as] he's asking for the world to like him again.

"He seems like he is going to put the barriers up -- he wants it completely private. All the leading PR experts would say that he needs to face the music and you need to get it over and done with, but Tiger wants it his way. But the bottom line is it stills looks like a long road to get him back on the golf course." Players react positively

Nike, a major Woods sponsor, reacted to his remarks with the following statement: "Tiger has apologized and made his position clear. Nike fully supports him and his family. We look forward to him returning to golf."

Elsewhere, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told CNN that Woods' words contained a message of good news after some months of bad headlines.

"The good news from today is that one, he plans to return to golf; two, it could be by the end of the year, and three, he's taking the right steps to return. All of that pleases us a great deal."

In response to the criticism Woods faced over refusing to take questions at the press conference, Finchem said:

The bottom line is it stills looks like a long road to get him back on the golf course
--Nick Faldo

"I don't know the extent to which the media will allow him the opportunity to return in the way he wants. Hopefully we can maintain the decorum we have had at our tournament in the past, and we'd ask golf fans to react positively to his requests."

Fellow golfer John Daly sent his message of reaction via his Twitter account: "The biggest major Tiger is going to win now -- is going to keep his family and I hope he succeeds! I wish him all the best! JD."

Earlier in the day, Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia said in a press conference at the WGC Accenture Match play in Arizona: "I'm looking forward to seeing him back on the tour, seeing him play, that's what we love doing. Other than that, I'm not really worried about the rest."

Fellow European and world No. 11 Ian Poulter agreed: "The sooner he comes out to tell us all when he's going to be coming back to play golf -- great. We all want to see him back on the golf course as soon as possible."