Tiger Woods 'Blown Away' by Fans' Reception

A relaxed, confident Woods says he expects to win Masters Tournament.

ByABC News
April 2, 2010, 4:18 PM

April 5, 2010— -- Tiger Woods said he didn't know what to expect when he returned to the golf course, but today said he was "blown away" by the warm reception he received from fans today while practicing at Augusta National ahead of this week's Masters Tournament.

"What a great day today," Woods told a hand-picked room of reporters at the storied August, Ga. club. "Coming in today I didn't know what to expect? the galleries couldn't be nicer? The encouragement that I got, blew me away to be honest with you."

"It touched my heart," he added.

The news conference was Woods' first extended question and answer session with reporters since a sex scandal derailed his career nearly five months ago.

Following 45 days of therapy, presumably for sex addiction, a relaxed and sometime joking Woods said his attitude both on and off the course had change following a now infamous Thanksgiving night car crash that set off an avalanche of allegations about sexual infidelity.

"I'm going to try and not get as hot when I play," he said. "When I'm not as hot, I'm not as exuberant either. I can't play one without the other? I've made a conscious decision to tone done the negative outbursts," the golfer told a room of hand-picked reporters.

Of that fateful accident, Woods said when he was taken to the hospital he received five stitches in his mouth. Woods admitted using the sleep drug Ambien in the past and denied he was in rehab for drug use. He added that he had never used any illegal drugs.

He said "nothing's changed" and he still expects to win the Masters that begins on Thursday. Woods has already won four Masters Tournaments.

In other ways, however, he was a more humble golfer. He said the reception he had received from fans made him realize that he needed to return the appreciation, and pledged to better acknowledge his supporters moving forward.

"So many fans supported me over the years. I want to say thank you to them. The past few months have put things in perspective… How much I underappreciated the fans," he said.

In a reference to his aloof treatment of his fans over the years, he said, "That was wrong of me."