Tiger Woods has announced that he is to take "an indefinite break" from professional golf, following days of revelations about his private life.
In a statement on his website, issued late last night, Mr Woods said: "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. 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.
"I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.
"After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person. Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period."
The news came as Mr Woods won a court injunction against the British media in an attempt to prevent further intrusions into his increasingly lurid-sounding private life. Lawyers for the troubled golfer went to the High Court in London on Thursday to seek protection for their client under the Human Rights Act and UK privacy laws.
Under the terms of the injunction, which was granted by Mr Justice Eady, The Independent, along with other newspapers and broadcasters, is forbidden from publishing the nature of any material that might be subject to the court order. But legal experts said that the injunction would not bind the US media or internet users uploading the material abroad.
Nick Armstrong, a specialist privacy and defamation lawyer at the law firm Charles Russell, also questioned whether such an injunction would be successful had it been sought in the US. "There is some provision for the US courts to allow legal action over the publication of offensive private information, but prior restraint is hardly ever allowed," he said.
"The first amendment of the US constitution strongly upholds freedom of expression, which means that if something is true then the media can publish it – it's a much higher hurdle to overcome, and Tiger Woods would find it virtually impossible to achieve the same results in some American states."
News of the legal move in the UK comes amid revelations about the existence of a 13th woman to be romantically linked to the billionaire golfer. The US lawyer Gloria Allred confirmed to the US website RadarOnline that she is representing an unidentified woman. Ms Allred already acts for the nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, another of the women linked to Woods.
The champion golfer has not been seen since the car crash that led to his public fall from grace two weeks ago. Woods and his wife, Elin, are said to be trying to save their marriage by escaping the media aboard their £13.5m yacht, Privacy.
In 2004, the couple sued the yacht's manufacturers for publicising the fact that they had bought it. The case was eventually settled. In a sworn court declaration for that case, Elin Woods said: "As its name implies, Privacy was intended to be a private respite for our family to relax and escape the rigours of my husband's celebrity."
Yesterday, one of Woods' alleged mistresses said she was left broken-hearted following the end of their relationship. Jamie Jungers, who claims to have conducted an 18-month affair with the golfer, told NBC's Today programme that the pair had started a relationship after meeting in a Las Vegas nightclub in 2005.
Ms Jungers told Today that she got "nothing out of this relationship but a broken heart". During the live interview, she denied allegations that she had worked in the past as an escort girl, and that she used Woods' money to pay for liposuction.Reuse content