Tiger Woods was ‘asleep at the wheel,’ thought he had been golfing in California, DUI report says
Awakened by a police officer as he sat behind the wheel of an idling car stopped in the roadway, golfer Tiger Woods had slurred speech and droopy eyes, was unable to walk unassisted, and was unsure where he was, according to Jupiter police.
His black 2015 Mercedes-Benz had two flat tires, damage to the rims and bumpers, scrape marks on the driver’s side, and a tail light appeared to be out, police said.
But the superstar golfer evidently had not been drinking. He took a breathalyzer test and blew a .000, police reported. “No problem with the test,” an officer wrote in an arrest report.
Still, Woods, 41, was charged with DUI after being discovered in the car at 4:22 a.m. Monday in the 2900 block of Military Trail, confused and disoriented, according to an arrest report released Tuesday.
“Woods stated that he was coming from LA Calif from golfing,” wrote the officer who awoke the golfer. “Woods stated that he did not know where he was.”
In a statement, Woods, who lives in Hobe Sound, denied that he had been drinking and said he “took responsibility” for an “unexpected reaction” to medication after his arrest on the DUI charge.
“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” he said Monday afternoon.
The arrest is the latest in a string of setbacks for Woods, who on Tuesday was ranked by ESPN as number 10 on a list of the most famous athletes in the world.
Woods had his seat belt buckled, and the car was running, its brake lights were illuminated and the right blinker was flashing when road patrol officer Matthew Palladino pulled up, the arrest report said.
Under the heading “attitude,” the officer described Woods as “cooperative, confused.”
One of several officers who responded to the scene reported that Woods’ shoes were untied. Asked if he wanted to tie them, Woods “stated no that he could not get down that far.”
That same officer said that when he asked Woods where he was going, “he stated that he did not know that he just liked to drive.”
At another point Woods indicated he thought he was in Southern California and headed to Orange County, police said.
In his statement, Woods said he understood the severity of his actions.
“What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly,” the statement says.
He went on to apologize to his family, friends and fans.
“I expect more from myself,” Woods said.
He also thanked the police for their professionalism.
“I fully cooperated with law enforcement,” he said in the statement.
Woods was booked into a Palm Beach County jail at 7:18 a.m. Monday and released at 10:50 a.m., the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.
His car was towed to an impound lot.
Found in Woods’ car were two pair of sunglasses, children’s clothing, two folding chairs, a hoodie and an umbrella, police said.
In his conversations with police on the scene, “Woods had changed his story of where he was and where he was coming from,” police said. “Woods asked how far from his house he was. It should be noted that Woods was heading southbound, away from Hobe Sound.”
The golfer told officers he took several prescription drugs, including what the police listed as “soloxex, vicodin, torix and viox (not taken this year).”
Given several roadside sobriety tests, Woods performed poorly. He could not turn and walk a straight line, maintain a standing position on one leg, or understand instructions to recite the alphabet.
“When asked if he understood directions he stated, ‘yes, recite entire national anthem backwards,’” police wrote. “After several times explaining instructions he completed the task correctly.”
Woods also supplied police with a urine sample.
The golfer owns The Woods Jupiter restaurant at Harbourside Place on Indiantown Road, about five miles south of his oceanfront home.
On Tuesday some of those in Jupiter who had followed the news seemed inclined to give Woods a pass on his latest run-in with the law.
“He’s had a difficult life,” said Colleen Malcom, 53, of Tampa, in town for a wedding and staying at a hotel across the street from Woods’ restaurant.
“I can understand it but also, he probably should have thought about it and hired a driver for the evening,” Malcom said. “I hope he straightens it out.”
Nick Salas, 33, of North Palm Beach, said he thought the incident would soon be forgotten. “He’s a successful man and he’s doing his business here and it has nothing to do with what happened over the weekend,” Salas said.
“I’m still going to go to his restaurant,” Salas said.
Tiger Woods life has been troubled by personal and physical issues recently. Here’s a look back at his career and how we got to this point of him being arrested on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida.(Seth Wenig / AP)
Tiger Woods is helped into his winner’s jacket by golfing great Arnold Palmer after taking a victory at the 2001 Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Fla.(Scott Audette / Associated Press)
(Erik S. Lesser / EPA)
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press )
Tiger Woods reacts after injuring his right wrist while hitting out of the rough on the ninth hole during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015.(David Cannon / Getty Images)
Tiger Woods tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Masters at Augusta National on April 11, 2015.(Andrew Redington / Getty Images)
In this handout photo provided by The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, golfer Tiger Woods is seen in a police booking photo after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) May 29, 2017 in Jupiter, Florida.(Hanodut / Getty Images)
The winner of 14 major championships, Woods has been an international star for more than 20 years and long one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
He was ranked 10th in ESPN’s list of the world’s 100 most famous athlete — behind soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James at the top — even though he had not competed for almost two years. The rankings are based on a formula that combines endorsements with social media following and internet search popularity, ESPN said.
In recent years Woods has battled injuries that have knocked him off the PGA Tour. He had committed to play in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens in February but withdrew from the tournament because of ongoing back issues.
In April, he underwent back surgery and will be sidelined for all of golf’s four major championships for a second consecutive year.
Woods posted an update on his physical condition to his website Wednesday.
“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,” he wrote. “It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years.”
Woods also wrote that, “as for returning to competitive golf, the long-term prognosis is positive.”
Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, in an interview Tuesday on the Golf Channel, said, “I feel bad for Tiger. Tiger’s a friend. He needs all the help, and we wish him well.”
Woods’ previous brush with the law was his now-infamous crash after Thanksgiving in 2009 which preceded revelations of his numerous extramarital affairs. Woods had crashed into a fire hydrant and a tree while leaving his mansion in Windermere at about 2:25 a.m.
His wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, smashed the window of his crashed SUV with a golf club and pulled him out of the damaged vehicle. When police arrived, Woods was lying on the ground, dazed and bleeding from his lips, with blood in his mouth and cuts on his face. The crash knocked Woods, then 33, unconscious and he was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
Investigators suspected Woods was under the influence when he crashed, but an attempt to collect “medical blood results” was denied by state prosecutors because of “insufficient information.” The Florida Highway Patrol did not pursue a criminal case and Woods was ticketed for careless driving, fined $164 and received four points against his license.
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
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