Watson: Woods must apologise before return

Tom Watson believes that Tiger Woods cannot be put in the same category as some of the game's greatest players because of his on- and off-course behaviour. The eight-times major winner has also called on Woods to "show some humility" and apologise for his behaviour before returning to golf.

Woods has taken an indefinite break from golf after it emerged at the end of November that he had had a string of affairs behind his wife Elin's back.

"I feel that he has not carried the same stature as the other great players that have come along like Jack [Nicklaus], Byron Nelson, [Ben] Hogan, in the sense that there was bad language and club throwing on the golf course," said Watson ahead of this week's Dubai Desert Classic which starts today.

"You can grant that to somebody, a young person, that has not been out there for a while, but I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that the people before him have shown.

"One of the things that is not in question is what Tiger has to do: he has to take ownership of what he has done. He must get his personal life in order," Watson added. "And when he comes back, he has to show some humility to the public, in the sense that if I were him, it wouldn't be at a golf tournament where I would first come out.

"I would come out and do an interview and say, 'I screwed up,' and admit it. And [say], 'I'm going to change; I want my wife and family back; I have to earn her trust back.' He messed up. He knows he messed up. The world knows he messed up. And he has to take ownership of that."

Watson, runner-up at last year's Open, is this week making his first appearance at a regular European Tour event since the 1993 German Masters.