Tiger's Mom Tells Him: 'I'm So Proud of You'

Tiger's Mom Tells Him: 'I'm So Proud of You'
Tiger Woods hugs his mother Kultida Woods
Joe Skipper/Reuters/Landov

updated 02/19/2010 AT 03:30 PM EST

originally published 02/19/2010 AT 01:50 PM EST

What did Kultida Woods whisper as she hugged her son Tiger after his public apology Friday?

"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."

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