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May 31, 2017

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Tiger says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest

PLAYERS arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village in Ohio for the Memorial might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He’s posing there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

A far different photo emerged on Monday, this one from the Palm Beach County jail in Florida after Woods was arrested on a DUI charge.

Sullen, lifeless eyes. Thinning hair mussed at the top. Scraggly facial hair. A white T-shirt.

In another stunning development for a player who became one of the dominant figures in sports, Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI and spent nearly four hours in jail before he was free on his own recognizance.

Woods said an “unexpected reaction” to prescription medicine — not alcohol — was the reason for his arrest. He said he understands the severity of the incident and takes full responsibility.

“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” he said. “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

Woods said he wanted to apologize to his family, friends and fans, adding that “I expect more from myself, too”.

Police said yesterday that Woods was asleep at the wheel but had no alcohol in his system when officers spotted his car stopped along a Florida road.

An affidavit released yesterday said Woods was alone and wearing his seat belt when Jupiter Police officers found his Mercedes early on Monday in the right lane. The car’s engine was running and its lights were on.

The report says officers woke Woods, who had “extremely slow and slurred speech” and told them he took several prescriptions. According to the report, Woods was confused and asked how far he was from his Hobe Sound home. Officers said Woods was cooperative but failed a roadside sobriety test. Breath tests showed no alcohol in his system.

Woods’ arraignment in Palm Beach County court on a DUI charge is scheduled for July 5.

Woods, a 14-time major champion who ranks No. 2 in PGA Tour history with 79 victories, has not played golf for four months. He had a fourth back surgery on April 20, and just five days ago reported on his website that the fusion surgery brought instant relief from pain and that he “hasn’t felt better in years”.

This was the first time Woods has run into trouble off the golf course since he plowed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Windermere, Florida, home in the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, which led to revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs.


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