THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - Steve Stricker expressed sympathy for fellow American and good friend Tiger Woods on Wednesday and hoped the game's leading player would share a little more of his private turmoil with the public.
Woods has been engulfed in speculation over his private life since mysteriously crashing his car and earlier on Wednesday he apologized for "transgressions" that apparently addressed allegations he had extra-marital relationships.
"I'd like to see him come on TV and just pour it out a little bit, show what's happened a little bit," world number three Stricker told reporters while preparing for this week's Chevron World Challenge.
"I don't know if that'll ever happen. But people forget and if he just does the right things from here on out, people will forgive him and move on.
"I think his image is going to take a little bit of a shot. I don't think there's any question that he will bounce back but it's going to be hard on him for a while."
Woods, who is renowned for carefully guarding his privacy, suffered facial cuts and bruises after his car struck a fire hydrant and a neighbor's tree outside the driveway of his home last Friday.
His Swedish wife, Elin Nordegren, used a golf club to smash a window of his car to get him out but Woods' refusal to meet with police to answer questions about the accident triggered a storm of speculation.
Media outlets have reported that the 14-times major champion has had extra-marital relationships with at least three women.
"It's been hard just to see what's been going on to him the last few days," said Stricker.
"It was a shock to see that, first of all, he was in a car accident, and then all the developments after that obviously is a shock, too.
"We all want him here," Stricker added, referring to the elite charity event at Sherwood Country Club that has been hosted by Woods for the past nine years. "We all look up to the guy.
"I'm in no category like a Tiger Woods. I can't imagine what kind of microscope Tiger and other famous celebrities go under on a day-to-day basis. I don't think it's really any of our business to get inside his private life.
"I don't really want to know. But I respect what he's doing. You know, he's trying to make it as private as he can."
Editing by Greg Stutchbury