Tiger Woods Is "An American Hero" Says PGA Commissioner

Feb. 19 2010, Updated 4:29 a.m. ET

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PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem called Tiger Woods “an American hero” in a press conference held shortly after the golfer’s public statement and apology which was live-streamed on RadarOnline.com.

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“He is an American hero and he’s had issues,” Finchem said to a room full of reporters. “He’s a human being, he makes mistakes, we all make mistakes.”

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The PGA head implored fans to “react positively” to Woods’ request to “judge him by his actions.”

While he called the fallout from the controversy over the golfing great a “distraction,” he heralded Woods’ Friday comments as “compelling” and vital to Tiger’s recovery.

“He clearly recognizes that there has been a serious impact to a wide range of individuals and organizations,” Finchem said.

“He is very focused on these issues, he’s committed to the course that he’s laid out.” Finchem later added: “He’s chosen a course as he’s stepped away from the game... to communicate is a part of the process.”

Finchem, who spoke to Woods before the golfer’s comments but not after, said Woods will be “gone for awhile.”

As if it already was not evident, the PGA wants to “be supportive to Tiger through this process.”

When asked what he personally wanted to hear Tiger say, Finchem said: “I was excited about the notion that he was taking a step that would lead to movement for him to return to golf.”

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