Tilghman issues on-air apology in TV return

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman issued a 21-second apology at the start of the Buick Invitational telecast on Thursday, her first public appearance after a network-imposed two-week suspension for saying that Tiger Woods' peers should "lynch him in a back alley."

Tilghman acknowledged that the words she used to conclude the Jan. 4 broadcast at the Mercedes-Benz Championship with analyst Nick Faldo were "inappropriate," -- although a technical glitch prevented her first few words from being heard.

"In a recent live broadcast, I used an inappropriate word that was offensive to many. Over the last two weeks I've taken the time to reflect and truly understand the impact of what I said,'' she said. "While I did not intend to offend anyone, I understand why those words were hurtful. I am terribly sorry for any hurt that I have caused. I would like to express my deepest apologies."

Tilghman and Faldo were wrapping up second-round coverage in Hawaii -- a tournament Woods was not playing -- when they were discussing Woods and how players should handle his domination. Faldo kiddingly suggested they "gang up" on Woods, and Tilghman added the comment, which used the racially insenstive term.

She apologized to Woods the next day and on the air two days later. Woods, through his management company, issued a statement saying he felt the issue was over. But it wasn't. Various commentators called for her firing, and five days after her remarks, the Golf Channel suspended Tilghman, the first woman to be a lead anchor on golf telecasts. She missed the Golf Channel's coverage of the Sony Open and Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Last week the controversy raged again when Golfweek magazine put the image of a noose on its cover, a decision that led to the firing of editor Dave Seanor.

Tilghman will not be in the booth next week at the FBR Open, but
a Golf Channel spokesman said she already was supposed to be off
that week because of an intense schedule.

Golf Channel is in the second year of a 15-year deal in which it
televises the first two rounds of every PGA Tour event, along with
full coverage of 13 other tournaments.

Bob Harig is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.