News & Opinion

Woods blames prescription meds, not alcohol, after DUI arrest

Tiger Woods claims that his DUI arrest early Monday resulted from “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications” and was not alcohol-related.

In a statement late Monday, Woods denied that he had been drinking when he was arrested in Jupiter, Fla., not far from his home.

According to a report on the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office website, Woods, 41, was booked at 7:18 a.m. Monday on one count of driving under the influence. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

The Palm Beach Post, quoting a Jupiter police spokeswoman, said Woods was driving south on Military Trail (County Road 809) at 3 a.m. when he was stopped. His home on Jupiter Island is in the opposite direction, the newspaper reported. Jupiter police were expected to release more details today, including the arrest report.

Jupiter, in northern Palm Beach County along the Atlantic, is about 90 miles north of Miami. Woods owns a home on Jupiter Island and a restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, in the Harbourside Place complex.

Late Monday, Woods released a statement:

“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions.

“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.

“I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.

“I fully cooperated with law enforcement, and I would like to personally thank the representatives of the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for their professionalism.”

Under Florida statute 316.193, a first offense for DUI carries a fine of $500-$1,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment.

Celebrity website TMZ.com, citing unnamed law-enforcement sources, said Woods was driving a 2015 Mercedes-Benz “erratically, all over the road,” adding that he was “arrogant” during the stop and refused to take a Breathalyzer test. Under Florida’s “implied consent” law, that refusal would trigger an automatic license suspension.

This is not Woods’ first driving incident in Florida. In November 2009, he was cited for careless driving and fined $164 after running his Cadillac SUV into a fire hydrant outside his home in Windermere, near Orlando. The incident led to revelations of serial infidelities and the breakup of his marriage to Elin Nordegren, the mother of his two children.

Woods played only three competitive rounds this year before ongoing back issues prompted fusion surgery, his fourth back operation (“Woods: Out of sight, out of mind . . . out of time?” May 29, http://bit.ly/2qvg6E5).

Woods, whose 79 PGA Tour victories include 14 major championships, has not won since claiming the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013, capping a five-victory season. He last won a major title in the 2008 U.S. Open.