Tuesday 22 August 2017

DUI arrest a new low for bleary-eyed Woods

Tiger Woods’ Florida mugshot. Photo: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS
Tiger Woods’ Florida mugshot. Photo: Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS

Harriet Alexander

Less than a decade ago, he was one of the best loved sportsmen in the world with a $1bn fortune.

But yesterday golfer Tiger Woods' life hit a new low when he was arrested in the early hours of the morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. The 14-time major winner suffered the humiliation of having his dishevelled-looking mugshot released by police - a far cry from the days in which he was held up as a role model.

Police sources told gossip website TMZ that Woods was "arrogant" when an officer smelt alcohol on his breath - and refused a breathalyser test.

He was arrested near his Florida home and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, spending nearly four hours in a county jail before being released.

The 41-year-old former world number one was stopped by police in his 2015 Mercedes at around 3am. His team has not responded to TMZ's reports that he was driving "erratically" and refused to take a breathalyser test. The site reported that Woods' entourage spent yesterday morning telephoning the police station repeatedly, to try to find out whether the police had dashcam video footage of the incident.

He was charged at 7.18am but police would not release further details.

Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup with his then fiancée, now ex-wife, model Elin Nordegren in 2004. Photo: AP
Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup with his then fiancée, now ex-wife, model Elin Nordegren in 2004. Photo: AP

He was released at 10.30am, and a member of his team arrived to collect the vehicle. Woods was last night yet to comment.

The arrest comes at a testing time for Woods, who in 2009 became the first athlete to earn $1bn (€900m), according to Forbes.

Woods, who ranks second with his 79 career victories on the PGA Tour, has not played for four months. He is out for the rest of the season while he recovers from a fourth back operation. Woods said in an update last week on his website that the fusion surgery provided instant relief and that "I haven't felt this good in years".

Woods won his last major - the US Open - in 2008, but was forced to take leave from the sport after admitting to cheating on his then-wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren.

In November 2009 he got into his Cadillac Escalade at 2.25am, racing out of the driveway and crushing hedges before hitting a fire hydrant and smashing into a tree. Woods was never charged with driving under the influence, but a slew of women then came forward to claim they had had affairs with the golfer.

He was cited for careless driving and fined $164.

Woods had been hopeful of playing in this year's Masters tournament, on the 20th anniversary of his first win at Augusta in 1997. But he lasted only five minutes in a practice session designed to prove he was fit to take part.

Irish Independent

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