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Thursday 26 April 2018

Tiger Woods pleads guilty to reckless driving

Tiger Woods was arrested in May after passing out in his Mercedes at the side of a road (AP)
Tiger Woods was arrested in May after passing out in his Mercedes at the side of a road (AP)

Tiger Woods has pleaded guilty to reckless driving and agreed to enter a diversion programme to settle a charge of driving under the influence.

The US golfer entered the plea on Friday in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Under the diversion programme, Woods will spend a year on probation and pay a 250 dollar (£190) fine and court costs.

He also must attend driving under the influence (DUI) school, perform 20 hours of community service and attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged.

The judge indicated that he had already met those requirements.

Since he was intoxicated with prescription drugs and marijuana, he will also be required to undergo regular drug tests.

He was arrested in May after being found passed out in his Mercedes.

Prosecutors dropped his driving under the influence charge, and the judge warned him to stay out of trouble.

"This particular plea agreement has no jail time on it. However, if you violate your probation in any significant way, I could revoke your probation and then I could sentence you to jail for 90 days with a fine of up to 500 dollars, is that understood?" Judge Sandra Bosso-Pardo said.

Woods, 41, nodded. He did not make any statement during the hearing or outside the courthouse.

Woods has already met some of the programme's requirements, completing 50 hours of community service at the Tiger Woods Foundation, prosecutor Dave Aronberg said.

Mr Aronberg said most DUI offenders do not qualify for the diversion programme because they have a prior record or were in an accident. About 2,500 first-time offenders have graduated from the county programme since it began four years ago.

"This is designed for first-time offenders, where the person made a one-time mistake and they're going to overcome it," Mr Aronberg said. "Mr Woods was treated like any other defendant in his situation."

Woods was arrested at about 2am on May 29 when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes, which was parked awkwardly on the roadside and had damage to the driver's side.

It is not clear how he damaged the car. Officers checked the area but did not find that he had hit anything. He was about 15 miles from his home.

His arrest was recorded by an officer's dashcam video and released to the public.

Woods had the active ingredient for marijuana, two painkillers - Vicodin and Dilaudid - the sleep drug Ambien and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system but no alcohol, according to a toxicology report released in August. He completed a drug treatment programme in July.

Woods has said he had been self-medicating to relieve the pain from his fourth back surgery and insomnia.

The DUI arrest was the first time Woods had been in trouble since Thanksgiving weekend in 2009, when he ploughed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his then-Windermere, Florida, home.

That led to revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs and a divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren, the mother of his two children. He spent 45 days in a Mississippi clinic where he was treated for an addiction.

Woods has 79 PGA Tour victories and 14 major titles but he has not competed since February because of his back injury and is not expected to return this year. His last win was in August 2013.

AP

Press Association

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