Forget golf: Tiger Woods’ arrest needs to be his bottom (updated)

In this March 20, 2017, file photo, Tiger Woods prepares to sign copies of his new book at a book signing in New York. Police say Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida. (AP photo)

(Updated: 9 p.m.) Tiger Woods’ career arc is not unlike other former great champions in sports, even if his has been more dramatic than most. He won titles. He set records. He reached a level of domination in golf that set the bar for others. Then injuries and age led to an erosion of his body and his game, and he became irrelevant against the sport’s new stars.

What will define Woods now is how he handles life outside of golf. What happened this holiday weekend wasn’t a good sign, either for today or the future. The 41-year-old was arrested early Monday morning near his home in Jupiter, Fla., on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Tiger Woods, via Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office released a mug shot of a tired, disheveled Woods, looking nothing like the centerpiece of so many past Nike campaigns. There was only limited information about the arrest on  the site, which indicated: Eldrick Tiger Woods had been booked Monday at 7:18 a.m. and released without bond at 10:50 a.m.

An arrest report was not immediately available but a Jupiter police spokeswoman told CNN that Woods had been arrested at about 3 a.m.

Woods released a statement Monday evening, saying that “alcohol was not involved.” He attributed the incident to prescription pain medication.

“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said. “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.

“I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too.”

DUI arrests never should be taken lightly. If somebody wants to train wreck their own life, that’s up to them. But driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs puts the lives and well-being of others at risk. If there is one positive about this incident, it’s that nobody was injured.

Whether anything else positive comes out of this is completely up to Woods.

His struggles have been on public display. The crash-and-burn of his marriage and personal life have been well-chronicled. He last won a PGA event in 2013 and his last of 14 majors in 2008. When he underwent fusion surgery April 19, it was his fourth back operation since 2014. Injuries have kept him out of the last two Masters, and three of the last four.

Former Georgia Tech pro Roberto Castro was asked recently what would happened first: His first major title or Woods’ 15th. Castro’s response: “Probably (me). (Woods) has a lot of physical issues to overcome. And even if he does, the level of play (on Tour) is so high. It’s really difficult to win a major.”

But Woods reaffirmed he has no plans to retire and provided a medical update on his condition May 24 on his website, writing: “It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years.

“The long-term prognosis is positive. … But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again.”

All of which is fine. But Woods’ rehab of his personal life should be a bigger priority for him than his physical being or his golf game, because one will not work without the other. He has never really been the same since undergoing knee surgery in 2008 after winning the U.S. Open.  His personal life became tabloid fodder in 2009, with details of extramarital affairs that ultimately led to his divorce from wife Elin Nordegren.

Woods has attempted to reshape his image, wrote a book on the 20th anniversary of his 1997 Masters win, picking up sponsors, designed a new golf shoe with Nike and entered the world of  golf course design.

But the mug shot of an unshaven, tired and morose looking Woods won’t play well in any marketing campaign. This needs to be the bottom for Woods, because the next step down is far worse.

Subscribe to the,We Never Played The Game” podcast with the AJC’s Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. Episodes also can be downloaded from on-demand link on WSBRadio.com.

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Reader Comments 0

71 comments
OH:IO
OH:IO

dog is a hole,


Hole's lose - just like dogs: #LB in the country. Booya.


The recruitment of Mitchell was one that was back and forth until the very end, with the decision ultimately falling between Florida State and the Buckeyes. Mitchell becomes the 12th member of this highly-regarded recruiting class, and becomes the first commitment from the state of Virginia in 2018.

TideDawg
TideDawg

For a man that had superior mind focus and control of his golf game, I never would have guessed that Woods would sink this low in life. He once put himself in the limelight of golf and now he's in the limelight of human misery.


dawg fan
dawg fan

Maybe I'm missing something but I don't think this is nearly as scandalous as the media apparently does.  Things like this happen to ordinary good people all the time.  My guess is that given the circumstances it will get knocked down to a reckless driving or something.  It was a mistake to be sure, but hardly the crime of the century you'd think it was reading columns like this one. 

kenstallings
kenstallings

The biggest problem Woods has is the media microscope he is placed under.  The police did not even wait a full day before publicly releasing the lab results, which proved that Woods had a blood alcohol level of 0.00% at the time of the arrest.  That is proof without question that the DUI was not related to alcohol.


Woods said he took "several prescription medications," which makes perfect sense given he had back surgery in April.


There was no logical need for speculation, which sadly this column contains.  


The truth appears to be he had a bad reaction to prescribed medication and started feeling bad.  He either tried to pull over, or remained in the left lane of traffic and stopped his car with the engine and lights still on.


It seems the reaction caused him to essentially pass out.  By letter of the law, the DUI charge remains valid.  But, this is not your ordinary drunk driving situation.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@kenstallings: "He either tried to pull over, or remained in the left lane of traffic and stopped his car with the engine and lights still on."

________________

He was found in the RIGHT lane.

Don't you just hate it when you appear ignorant while taking someone else to task?

OH:IO
OH:IO

Let dog is A HOLE win 79 PGA vistories and give $millions to charities, then he ( or she??) can talk smack. 


The Schmeg still smells.


DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Let ohio st do better than a shameful 0-31 in an undeserved playoff berth, and you still won't be able to talk smack, lying hypocrite.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole @OH:IO


2-1 in THE playoffs INCLUDING a National Championship. 


Keep sniffing but dog are not even close, dog in a-hole.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

"Dog" are not even close?

STILL waiting, lying hypocrite--after all these years.

Not even close to getting embarrassed 0-31--that's for damn sure. Loser.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


dogs are losers. 3rd tier. Always have been, always will be. 


DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Stop deflecting.

0-31. National disgrace!

And your overhyped blowhards have LOST to my teams EVERY time they've played them.

You should know about being a loser.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole @OH:IO


So?


My team has won EIGHT National Championships. EIGHT!


dogs? holes? Not even close.



M.W
M.W

so here is the thing...this all seems super suspect on the part of the police...let me explain....Initially it was stated that he was arrested because the officer smelled alcohol on his breath. How in the hell is that possible when he blew a 0.00? They they say he got an automatic DUI because he refused to blow....but now it says he was extremely cooperative and had to have blown to get the 0.00. So lets figure this out? How do we get to him even being arrested when he blew a 0.00? WTF is going on here?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@M.W

He was sleeping at the wheel--IN THE ROAD!

Duh!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

FSU already has, lying hypocrite.

Show up in the playoffs, coward. 0-31 = NATIONAL DISGRACE!

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


Fair weather dog is a hole. 


Has either of your teams won a playoff game or NC in the last three years?? 


Nope

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Has your team EVER beaten either of my teams, lying hypocrite?!

Nope.

Own it, loser.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


I'd prefer the EIGHT National Championships, thank you. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Answer the question, gutless!

Has your team EVER beaten either of my teams?

jc77
jc77

I dunno...Kobe (rapist) rehabilitated his image on the basketball court.  With the way this country is, performing on the field cures all wrong-doings, just ask Ray Lewis (murderer).  

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

Breathalyzer given registered 0.00 even though the officers said they smelled alcohol...hmmmmmmm

GwinnettDad1
GwinnettDad1

@Surelyyoujest  If you think Tiger is innocent after seeing that euthanized blank stare worthy of a street punk, then there's no hope for you.

E983
E983

He was foolish, again. All the surgeries and opiates can't return him to where he was. Spinal problems won't go away.

Alwaysorange
Alwaysorange

Cut Tiger some slack!  Long flight from LA....recent surgeries would require pain meds for that trip, he wisely used a turn signal, got off the road before he passed out. Maybe they should have taken him to a hospital, not the jail, and the headline could have read "Tiger rescued by alert Cop during  medical episode"

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Alwaysorange: ". . .he wisely used a turn signal, got off the road before he passed out."

_________________

Nope.

"Golfer Tiger Woods was asleep at the wheel in his 2015 black Mercedes-Benz when police spotted him stopped in the right lane of a road about 3 a.m. on Memorial Day in Jupiter, Fla."

In the right lane. Get it?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Absolutely it is.

Read the stories, lying hypocrite. It's right there in black & white.

He's charged with DUI.


TOJacket
TOJacket

Frankly...I don't give a sheet if he gets a DUI or not. None of my business...he would be better off leaving the opiates alone and get him some weed and treat his pain all natural...Pain pills and distilled beverages are the biggest problem in this country right now.

Contrario
Contrario

You have a rare and special talent for being able to judge a man and provide a pepper scolding based on a mugshot. Thank you!!!

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

It is unbelievable how far he has fallen. The injuries notwithstanding, he has not been the same player since his divorce. He is also living proof that money, in and of itself, does not guarantee happiness.


ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

Why insert the Roberto Castro comment?  It adds nothing. 

carterjoseph1950
carterjoseph1950

Mr. Schultz, you are a fine writer and appear to be a fine man. I still remember your column a few years ago regarding the struggles of your son and your family about the hellish battle of addiction. If anyone understands Tiger Wood's demons, it is you.

Keep up the good work, and best wishes. (BTW, I am not a sports fan, but what the heck.)

DawgNole
DawgNole

@carterjoseph1950

Good post.

Then you have dipwads like the cowardly lying hypocrite oh:io, whose stench has permeated the AJC blogs for far too long.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Here' to all the elite Libs in SoCal!


The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that UC President Janet Napolitano 's office reimbursed regents for more than $225,000 in dinner parties since 2012, including $17,600 for a banquet held the night before the board voted to raise tuition.

NorwegianBlue
NorwegianBlue

Jeff- Thanks (and congrats) for almost 30 years at the AJC. I've been reading your work from Day 1. Hope you know how many fans you have, notwithstanding some of the reader comments. Keep it coming.

mcleert
mcleert

too early to say it was a DUI.  Released without bond---DUI charge always has a minimum 2,000 bond no matter who it is. Those pain pills can be tricky on your  body. Not recommended to drive while on medication but you can. 

1peatfor7
1peatfor7

@mcleert It doesn't have to be alcohol to be a DUI. It's not drinking under the influence, it's driving.  That way drugs are covered, both legal and illegal.  

HotDawg
HotDawg

We're all gonna get old and we're all gonna die.

Who cares what others think?

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

And you need to forget journalism, or whatever the hell you call this.

Wrecker
Wrecker

I don't understand people who say this was just a DUI.  Ask anyone whose life has been affected by drunk drivers what significance should be placed on his arrest.  

HotDawg
HotDawg

Simply numbers wise....I bet many more lives have been affected by getting a DUI.

Not every DUI is a death accident or property assault, as MADD wants you to believe.

Many people are actually conscientious of their driving capability.

Not condoning it.

Simply stating the cost that is imposed upon those that do not create any damage (life or property).

Toss the Scarlet Letter upon those that get stopped in a roadblock, a block in their neighborhoods, etc.

How many people do not know anyone that hasn't gotten a DUI at this point?

Almost impossible. A co-worker, family member, a neighbor, friend, themselves?

Are they all horrible criminals? Of course not.