"I said, 'I'm so proud of you. Never think you stand alone. Mom will always be there for you and I love you,' " she told ESPN.
After his 15-minute speech, the embattled golfer, 34, held his mom in a long embrace before hugging and hand-shaking his way down the front row of pre-chosen attendees at the gathering, which was held at the TPC Sawgrass golf course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Tiger left, but Kultida spoke to reporters. "As a human being everyone has faults, makes mistakes and sins. We all do. But, we move on when we make a mistake and learn from it," she said. "I am upset the way media treated him like he’s a criminal … he didn’t kill anybody, he didn’t do anything illegal … They’ve being carrying on from Thanksgiving until now, that’s not right!"
She added: "People don't understand that Tiger has a very good heart and soul. Sometimes I think there is a complete double standard … He tried to improve himself."
As for her own emotions – as a mother and grandmother to his two small children – she said she was upset. "This thing is a family matter … It's not easy to be him. … [People] go to work 8 to 5 and go home to have a life with the family. Tiger can't do that," she said, also noting that his return to Buddhism "will make him a much better person."