Tiger Woods' DUI arrest early Monday morning that landed him in a Florida jail has turned to damage control, with him attributing it to an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medicine and claims that some in the sports media were already spinning things to protect the golfing great – like sports network ESPN even tidying up his police mugshot.
Woods reps reportedly were already pressing the Jupiter Police Department to find out if the officer who arrested him was wearing a body camera.
Woods, the 14-time major champion, was arrested on suspicion of DUI at about 3 a.m. Monday and taken to Palm Beach County jail, reported The Associated Press. He was released on his own recognizance about four hours later.
Police said Woods was asleep at the wheel but had no alcohol in his system when officers spotted his car stopped along a Florida road.
An affidavit released Tuesday said Woods was alone and wearing his seat belt when Jupiter Police officers found his Mercedes early Monday in the right lane. The car's engine was running and its lights were on.
The report says officers woke Woods, who had "extremely slow and slurred speech" and told them he took several prescriptions.
According to the report, Woods was confused and asked how far he was from his Hobe Sound home. Officers said Woods was cooperative but failed a roadside sobriety test. Breath and urine tests showed no alcohol in his system.
Woods' arraignment in Palm Beach County court on a DUI charge is scheduled for July 5.
"I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions," Woods said in a statement Monday evening. "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."
Police said Woods was arrested on Military Trail, a six-lane road, south of Indian Creek Parkway. He was about 20 minutes from his home on Jupiter Island.
Woods did not say in his statement where he had been or what he was doing at that hour. Jail records show that the 41-year-old was booked into jail at 7:18 a.m. and released at 10:50 a.m.
The jail released a booking photo of Woods, said the AP, with sullen, lifeless eyes; thinning hair mussed at the top; scraggly facial hair, and a white T-shirt.
Twitter users spotted ESPN's attempt to clean up Woods’ mugshot.
The AP said players arriving for the Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, did not want to comment. Within an hour of the news, they all had seen the photo.
Notah Begay, a close friend and roommate of Woods when they played at Stanford, was empathetic. Begay was arrested for aggravated drunken driving in 2000 when he ran into a car outside a bar in New Mexico. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with all but seven days suspended.
"It's embarrassing for Tiger, something that you can't go back and change," Begay said on Golf Channel from the NCAA men's golf championship in Sugar Grove, Illinois, where he was working for the network. "I've been there myself. ... But it was a turning point in my life. Hopefully, it's something he'll learn from, grow from, take responsibility for and use it to make some changes."
Begay later said on Golf Channel he had exchanged text messages with Woods after the arrest.
"He seemed like he was in a better place," Begay said.
Woods has not been seen at a golf tournament since he opened with a 77 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, withdrawing the next day because of back spasms. He was in Los Angeles for the Genesis Open, run by his Tiger Woods Foundation, but he did not come to the course at Riviera because of his back.
He was at the Masters, but only to attend the dinner for past champions, said the AP.
Reuters reported that Woods life unraveled in late 2009 over allegations about affairs with several women that ultimately led to the end of his marriage.
Those allegations followed a bizarre early morning car accident outside his Florida home that rapidly ballooned into a fully-fledged sex scandal which turned his previously unblemished life and career upside down.
The scandal ultimately cost Woods a number of lucrative endorsement deals, while other sponsors shifted away from using him in marketing but did not end their contracts with him.
Woods, whose current sponsors include Nike, Bridgestone, Hero, Kowa, Upper Deck, and Monster Energy was ranked 12th on Forbes' list of the highest-paid athletes in 2016, with total earnings of $45.3 million, despite missing much of the year recovering from back surgery, said Reuters.
The AP said a police report in 2009 showed that a Florida trooper who suspected Woods was driving under the influence sought a subpoena for the golfer's blood test results from the hospital, but prosecutors rejected the petition for insufficient information.
A witness, who wasn't identified in the report, told the trooper he had been drinking alcohol earlier. The same witness also said Woods had been prescribed two drugs, the sleep aid Ambien and the painkiller Vicodin. The report did not say who the witness was but said it was the same person who pulled Woods from the vehicle after the accident. Woods' wife has told police that she used a golf club to smash the back windows of the Cadillac Escalade to help her husband out.
He eventually was cited for careless driving and fined $164.
Woods and wife Elin Nordegren divorced in 2010. He later had a relationship with Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn that lasted two years.
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