Tiger takes ‘full re­spon­si­bil­ity’

‘I didn’t re­al­ize the mix of med­i­ca­tions had af­fected me so strongly’

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DOUG FER­GU­SON

Po­lice found Tiger Woods asleep at the wheel on the side of a six-lane Florida road in the dark of morn­ing, the en­gine run­ning and his right blinker flash­ing. His speech was slow and slurred, though there was no al­co­hol in his sys­tem and he didn’t know how far away he was from home. The de­tails con­tained in a po­lice af­fi­davit re­leased Tues­day did lit­tle to clear up the cu­ri­ous cir­cum­stances of his where­abouts on Me­mo­rial Day morn­ing, only to con­firm Woods’ state­ment that he had not been drink­ing be­fore be­ing ar­rested for sus­pi­cion of DUI. Po­lice de­scribed Woods as “co-op­er­a­tive as much as pos­si­ble,” say­ing he had trou­ble keep­ing his eyes open. The af­fi­davit was re­leased a day af­ter Woods spent nearly four hours in the Palm Beach County jail on a DUI charge. His mug shot from the jail pro­vided a stark il­lus­tra­tion of how much Woods’ mys­tique has been shat­tered since his decade of dom­i­na­tion that golf had never seen. In a state­ment Mon­day evening, Woods at­trib­uted the ar­rest to an “un­ex­pected re­ac­tion” to pre­scrip­tion medicine. “I un­der­stand the sever­ity of what I did and I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for my ac­tions,” he said. Woods has not com­peted in four months, and he had fu­sion surgery on his lower back — his fourth back surgery since April 2014 — on April 20 that will keep him off the PGA Tour for at least the rest of the sea­son. He told po­lice he had taken sev­eral pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions. The af­fi­davit said Woods failed a so­bri­ety test on the side of the road be­cause he couldn’t keep his bal­ance or fol­low in­struc­tions. Breath tests, how­ever, showed no al­co­hol in his sys­tem. Po­lice said Woods agreed to a urine test. Wear­ing black ath­letic shorts and a white T-shirt, Woods told po­lice he had re­turned from play­ing golf in Los An­ge­les. Woods said on his web­site last week that he would not be able to twist his back for three months be­cause of his surgery. The re­port said Woods changed his story on where he was com­ing from and where he was go­ing. His car was parked in a di­rec­tion headed the op­po­site way from his home on Jupiter Is­land. The af­fi­davit listed four med­i­ca­tions in­clud­ing Vi­codin that Woods re­ported tak­ing. He told po­lice he was re­cov­er­ing from surgery. Be­fore the four back surg­eries, Woods had four surg­eries on his left knee dat­ing to his fresh­man year at Stan­ford in 1994. Painkillers are gen­er­ally pre­scribed af­ter such surg­eries, and many carry warn­ings to avoid driv­ing while tak­ing them. Other medicines, in­clud­ing over-the-counter al­lergy medicine or anti-anx­i­ety medicines, can also cause drowsi­ness and in­clude warn­ings about driv­ing. The FDA warn­ing for Vi­codin says it “may im­pair the men­tal and/or phys­i­cal abil­i­ties re­quired for the performance of po­ten­tially haz­ardous tasks such as driv­ing a car or oper­at­ing ma­chin­ery; pa­tients should be cau­tioned ac­cord­ingly.” The re­port said Woods was “ex­tremely sleepy,” and the of­fi­cer ob­served it was hard for Woods to keep his eyes open and to walk. “I didn’t re­al­ize the mix of med­i­ca­tions had af­fected me so strongly,” Woods said in his state­ment. Woods is sched­uled to be ar­raigned July 5 in Palm Beach County on the DUI charge. Po­lice also cited him for im­proper park­ing. The re­port said his Mercedes was parked on the right side of the road with the en­gine run­ning, the brake lights on and the blinker flash­ing. He was alone. 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.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Golfer Tiger Woods pre­pares to sign copies of his new book at an event in New York in March. He has not com­peted in four months, and had fu­sion surgery on his lower back in April.

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