Tiger Woods Is No Stranger To Public Scandal
It’s no secret that world-champion golf pro Tiger Woods has had his share of difficulties in the past decade. From his sex scandal and subsequent divorce, ongoing substance abuse issues, and his DUI arrest in May of 2017, the 42-year-old golfer has had to battle his demons in the public eye.
Struggling with an addiction in the isolation of your own home is difficult enough, but can you imagine hitting rock bottom under the watchful eye of worldwide media coverage? It must be absolutely earth-shattering, to say the least. Nevertheless, that is the fate that has been delivered to Mr. Tiger Woods (or should we say, one he has delivered to himself).
Woods’s May 2017 DUI Arrest Creates A Worldwide Media Frenzy
When Woods was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in May of 2017, it became a feeding frenzy. Media outlets around the world covered the story with fervor. Of course, this wasn’t the first time Woods made front page news for having personal issues. In 2009, the world was morbidly fascinated with the revelation of his sex addiction and subsequent trip to sex rehab. In 2010, he went to rehab for an addiction to pain killers. And, on May 29, 2017; the bad boy of golf struck again.
Woods was found asleep at the wheel by law enforcement officials in Jupiter, Florida in the early morning hours of Memorial Day. His very expensive 2015 Mercedes Benz had obvious damage to the exterior, which alerted Palm Beach County police officers to the fact that Woods had crashed his car while driving.
When police woke Woods from his slumber, his speech was slurred and he seemed disoriented. He reportedly admitted he did not know where he was and asked how far he was from his house. When police administered a breathalyzer test for alcohol, Woods blew a 0.00. The star athlete said he must have had a bad reaction to a number of medications he was taking for back pain. He later took a urine test.
Woods was taken into custody at 3 a.m. and booked on charges of driving under the influence.
Tiger Makes A Public Statement About His Arrest
Shortly after Woods was released from jail later that same morning, Woods made a public statement:
“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. 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 expect more from myself too. I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”
To make sure “it” never happens again, Woods made the decision to check himself into in-patient rehab to get treatment for his substance abuse problem. It is important to note, however, that many people believe his trip to rehab was just a ploy to prevent ex-wife Elin Nordgren from relieving him of the 20 percent custodial rights he had of his two young children.
In July, Woods Completed An Approximate 14-Day Stay At A Treatment Center
In July, Woods reported that he had completed treatment, although it was a short stay.
“I recently completed an out of state private intensive program,” Woods posted on Twitter after he checked out of rehab. “I will continue to tackle this going forward with my doctors, family and friends. I am so very thankful for all of the support I’ve received.”
This was not Woods’s first stint in rehab – in fact, many argue the billionaire golfer is on a downward spiral. In 2010, he went to The Meadows, a treatment center in Wickburg, Arizona; where he sought help for an addiction to Vicodin and Ambien. He also completed six weeks sex addiction treatment at the Gentle Path program at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 2009.
The Results Of Woods’s Toxicology Report Revealed The True Nature Of His Problem
Because Woods had been struggling with back issues for a number of years and had undergone several surgeries, those who knew him well were aware that he had been taking narcotic pain medications to alleviate his pain. However; it is safe to say no one knew the extent of his substance use.
When the toxicology report came back from his May arrest in August of 2017 after he had completed rehab, the world was shocked to learn that Woods tested positive for five drugs – Vicodin, Dilaudid, Xanax, Ambien and marijuana.
Vicodin (Hydrocodone) is an opioid drug prescribed for pain. Dilaudid is also an opioid narcotic drug used for severe pain – it is very, very powerful. Xanax is a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety and Ambien is prescribed for sleep. It is unclear whether Woods had a prescription for marijuana, since the drug is legal in Florida for medicinal use.
When mixed together, these medications can easily produce a lethal overdose. Woods is lucky to be alive and truly blessed that he didn’t kill himself or someone else while driving that night.
Woods Comments About Having These Five Powerful Drugs In His System
When asked to comment on the toxicology findings, Woods had this to say:
“As I previously said, I received professional help to manage my medications,” Woods said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “Recently, I had been trying on my own to treat my back pain and a sleep disorder, including insomnia, but I realize now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance.
“I am continuing to work with my doctors, and they feel I’ve made significant progress. I remain grateful for the amazing support that I continue to receive and for the family and friends that are assisting me. Regarding my back, I recently spoke to my surgeon and he’s very pleased with how my fusion is healing. I’m right on schedule. I’m now doing some light lifting, riding a stationary bike and putting a little.”
Woods Pleads Guilty And Accepts A Light Punishment In August
In August 2017, Woods’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf for driving under the influence. Instead, Woods pled guilty to reckless driving in a Palm Beach County court where he entered a diversion program that allows first-time DUI offenders to avoid jail time.
The four-time Masters champion was sentenced to one year of probation, 20 hours of community service, and a $250 fine. He was also ordered to attend DUI class, attend a workshop led by victims of drunk driving, and make a $250 donation to Palm Beach County Victim Services.
If he successfully completes his probation, his reckless driving charge will be expunged from his record. If he violates his probation, the deal he agreed to will be revoked and he could face 90 days in jail and a fine of $500.
In December 2017, Woods Gets Back Out On The Greens
Recently, Tiger Woods once again made worldwide news – only this time, it was for his golf game rather than his addiction-fueled antics.
After removing himself from the game of golf for several years because of back problems, Woods has not won a championship since 2008. When he entered the Hero World Challenge in December, golf enthusiasts were excited to see Woods back in action after having back surgery earlier in the year. The World Hero Challenge is one of the most exclusive PGA golf events in the world, held every year in the Bahamas.
After working hard to overcome his addiction to painkillers and getting out of rehab, golf experts say Woods is on his way to making a well-anticipated comeback in the golf arena. He finished with a final of score of 68 and tied ninth place out of an 18-man line up.
Woods Comments On His Performance At The World Hero Challenge
“I’m excited,” Woods said in a press conference after the challenge. “I had the adrenaline going and overall I’m very pleased. I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds, that wasn’t going to be an issue. The issue was how was my scoring going to be, how was my feel, how am I going to get used to the adrenaline in my system for the first time in a while.”
He continued, “I was still good with my irons, I drove it pretty good all week, made some good putts. I showed some good signs, I hit some really good shots out there and (it’s) a bright future.”
When asked about his plans for golf in the upcoming year, Woods had this to say, “We’re going to sit down, we’ll figure it out, where I’m going to start, how much I’m going to play, rest periods, training cycles, the whole nine yards. My expectations are we’ll be playing next year. How many, where, I don’t know yet, but we’ll figure it out.”
What Does The Future Hold For Tiger Woods?
Woods has had to battle a number of major injuries during his career – more than any other golfer in him time. Sports casters say a fraction of the injuries he has sustained would be enough to end the career of even the toughest athlete.
He has had four knee surgeries, four back surgeries, a right Achilles tear, a left Achilles sprain, a bulging disc in his back, a left elbow sprain; and he has back spasms. It’s not surprising that Woods turned to narcotics to find relief from his pain. Chronic pain and addiction often go hand in hand.
Because we know that addiction is a progressive condition that is especially tricky for those who take opioids for chronic pain, we recognize that Woods isn’t out of the woods yet. If he hopes to salvage his golf career and regain his championship status, he will have to put recovery first – just like anyone else who has a substance abuse problem. Otherwise, he is likely to wind up in trouble again.
We wish Woods continued success in his golfing endeavors. But, more importantly, we wish him well on his path toward recovery. We sincerely hope he addresses the addiction problems he has so publicly struggled to gain victory over.