Miami - Golf superstar Tiger Woods was charged with driving under
the influence by police in Florida on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to the
former world number one as he struggles to resurrect his career.
PIC: Tiger's mugshot following DUI arrest
The 14-time major champion blamed his arrest on a reaction
to a mixture of prescription medication he has been taking, insisting in an
apology to fans that alcohol was not involved in the incident.
Woods, 41, was arrested by police near his home in Jupiter,
Florida, around 09:00 before his release later on Monday after being charged
with driving under the influence.
A police mugshot of Woods looking bleary-eyed and unshaven
rapidly went viral, underscoring the protracted fall from grace which has
befallen the superstar athlete once renowned as a clean-living, corporate
"I understand the severity of what I did and I take
full responsibility for my actions," Woods said in a statement quoted by
US media outlets, which stressed 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," Woods said.
"I would like to apologise with all my heart to my
family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too."
The TMZ.com entertainment news website had earlier cited law
enforcement sources as saying that Woods was stopped after being spotted
"driving erratically, all over the road." The website said the golfer
refused to blow into a breathalyser.
The arrest is the latest gloomy episode to hit Woods, who
once towered over his sport before being engulfed by turmoil in his private
life and a series of debilitating injuries.
Woods hasn't played competitive golf since pulling out of
the Dubai Desert Classic in February after one round because of back pain.
He had spinal fusion surgery on April 20 - his fourth
surgery in three years to treat his troublesome back which has limited him to
three tournament starts worldwide in the past two years.
Woods wrote on his website last week that since his latest
procedure he was feeling better than he had in years and remained committed to
returning to competitive golf.
"My surgeon and physiotherapist say the operation was
successful. It's just a matter of not screwing up and letting it fuse,"
"I'm walking and doing my exercises, and taking my kids
to and from school. All I can do is take it day by day. There's no hurry. But,
I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again."
Woods made his comeback in December after missing all of the
But his return quickly ran aground as he withdrew from the
PGA Tour event in Los Angeles in February, the Honda Classic and the Arnold
Palmer Invitational in March.
He even cancelled a planned press conference at the Los
Angeles tournament saying doctors had advised him to "limit all
He pulled out of the Masters in early April, missing the
first major of the year on the 20th anniversary of his epic 1997 victory at
Augusta National that marked his first major title and signalled a new era in
Woods, once widely expected to surpass Jack Nicklaus's
record of 18 major championships, hasn't won a grand slam title since the 2008
US Open at Torrey Pines.
Injuries haven't been the only disruptions to his on-course
In November of 2009 a car accident outside his Florida home
led to revelations of a series of infidelities that wrecked his marriage. He
later went to rehabilitation after the accident, reportedly for sex addiction.
Amid the lurid tabloid headlines, Woods took a break from
professional golf that lasted until the 2010 Masters.
Woods chances of overhauling Nicklaus's tally of 18 majors
look remote. He has not featured in a major since the 2015 PGA Championship,
when he missed the cut. He also missed the cut in that year's British and US