Golf legend Tiger Woods has claimed in a statement to media outlets after he was arrested in Florida early on Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) that alcohol was “not involved” in his arrest. Woods blamed his arrest on an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medication.” He also issued an apology to “family, friends, and fans,” saying he would ensure “this never happens again.”
Woods was booked in a Florida jail after he was arrested at about 3 a.m. local time on Military Trail, south of Indian Creek Parkway on Jupiter Island, Florida, where he has a home, WPTV reported.
It was not clear whether he was alone in the vehicle at the time he was arrested, but according to a report by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the 41-year-old was booked at 7:18 a.m. after the arrest and released from Palm Beach County jail at about 10:50 a.m.
Police also released an embarrassing mugshot of the superstar in which he looked disheveled and bleary-eyed.
“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” Woods said in the statement issued after he was released from jail, according to the BBC. “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”
“I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans… I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”
“I fully cooperated with law enforcement, and I would like to personally thank the representatives of the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for their professionalism,” he added.
Police released Woods with no bond and “on his own recognizance.” This means that he promised in writing to cooperate fully with follow-up investigation and legal proceedings.
Despite claiming that alcohol was “not involved” in his arrest, his book sheet indicated he had an unlawful blood alcohol level, according to E! News. An officer stopped him after he was spotted driving “erratically, all over the road” in a 2015 Mercedes-Benz car. His breath reportedly “smelled alcohol” and he was “arrogant” to the officer. The officer arrested him after he refused to take a Breathalyzer test, according to the Daily Mail.
Florida police could release dashcam footage of the incident on Tuesday that could cause further embarrassment to the golf superstar.
TMZ reported that Kristin Smith, Tiger’s current girlfriend, broke down in tears and “went crazy” when she learned about the arrest. Someone called her on the phone while she was shopping at a Neiman Marcus store in Dallas. But she bought merchandise worth $5,000 before she left the store, according to TMZ’s sources.
Tiger, who is currently recovering from recent back surgery, has not won a major since 2008 when he won the U.S. Open. Shortly after winning the U.S. Open, he announced he was undergoing reconstruction surgery on his left knee.
He has since also undergone multiple back surgeries. He recently commented on his blog that he experienced “instant relief” after his latest surgery just over a month ago and that he has not “felt this good in years,” CNN reported.
Woods, who has won 14 major tournaments, expressed interest in returning to professional golf but said he would not be able to twist his back for three months after his latest surgery.
“Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me,” he wrote. “I am concentrating on short-term goals.”
“I want to thank my doctors for their great work and support throughout this process,” he continued. “I also want to thank the fans for your phenomenal support. It means more than you know. There’s a long way to go, but as I said, words cannot convey how good it feels to be pain-free.”
The latest embarrassing incident for Woods comes after it emerged, shortly after he was involved in a traffic-related mishap in front of his Orlando, Florida, home in 2009, that he had been cheating on his wife, Elin Nordegren. The incident forced him to take a break from professional golf and to issue an apology for letting down his fans and his family.
Nordegren divorced Woods in 2010. He also lost several sponsors due to the scandal.
Woods’ DUI arrest, including the embarrassing mugshot of him released by police, could prove a setback to his efforts to recover fully from the previous scandal. He stands the risk of losing lucrative endorsement contracts due to the latest mishap.
[Featured Image by The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office/Getty Images]