Tiger Woods was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early Monday morning near his home in Jupiter, Florida, then on Monday evening he released a statement apologizing for the incident and asserting that “alcohol was not involved.”
Woods, 41, was arrested just after 3 a.m. driving south on Military Trail, south of Indian Creek Parkway, Jupiter police spokeswoman Kristin Wrightler told The Associated Press. The Palm Beach Post reported that Woods’ home on Jupiter Island, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, is in the opposite direction. He was booked at 7:18 a.m. and released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m., according to the arrest record. Police did not say whether alcohol or drugs were suspected, or if anyone else was in the car. A report will be available on Tuesday, Wrightler said.
In his statement, Woods said he had “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
“I didn’t realize the mix of medications affected me so strongly,” the statement said. “I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too. I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”
He added that he “fully cooperated” with law enforcement and complimented the Jupiter Police Department and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office “for their professionalism.”
The incident occurred days after Woods posted on his website an upbeat assessment of his health. Woods had a recent back fusion surgery, his third back procedure in three years. “I haven’t felt this good in years,” Woods said on his website on Wednesday. “I can’t twist for another two and a half to three months. Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me.”
The DUI arrest on Memorial Day morning continues a spiral in the life of the world’s most famous golfer that began in a different vehicle outside his previous home on a holiday weekend eight years ago. Woods has not won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, in which he prevailed in a playoff despite playing on what was later discovered to be a broken leg. That victory, his 14th major title, added to the aura of the golfer many peers and observers considered the greatest of all time.
But his career trajectory changed dramatically after 2 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving in 2009, when it was first reported that he was injured in a low-speed crash near his home outside Orlando. It was soon discovered that his then-wife, Elin, had hurled a golf club at the car after having learned that Woods cheated on her. That, in turn, led to a series of revelations that caused him to take a leave from golf, make a public apology and enter a rehabilitation facility.
In recent years, he has battled what golf experts call a case of the “yips,” in which he struggled to make pure contact on short shots around greens. Mostly, it has been his physical condition that often has prevented him from even finishing a tournament, let alone contend for a major title. In his post last week, he said the back pain had become intolerable. “Even lying down hurt,” he wrote. “I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope.”