[*Update: I moved the mug shot after the jump because I couldn’t bear seeing it…]
It’s been more than 12 hours since I first heard Tiger Woods had been arrested in the wee hours of Memorial Day near his home in Jupiter, Florida, on suspicion of drunk driving, and I’m still not sure what to say or think. Really, though, when I saw Tiger’s mug shot, the first word that came to mind — and remains at the forefront — was and is, sad.
For the record, rarely do people pull off “good” mug shots; I imagine it’s a pretty humiliating and shaming moment for private citizens, let alone Tiger Freaking Woods. Word spreads so fast in the Palm Beach area that I received the following screenshot from a friend who lives in the hood before Woods was even released on his own recognizance at 10:50am ET.
Turned out Woods was arrested at 3am ET Monday, then booked at 7:18am ET and finally, released from custody just before 11am ET. Doesn’t sound like the most pleasant way to spend eight hours of your life, not to mention the fall-out and intense, crazed microscope that would engulf the golfing world.
On Monday afternoon GMT, I didn’t have my phone glued to my hand for at least two hours, as I searched for a WiFi connection during a long layover at the Copenhagen airport. Which, by the way, is super nice, with incredibly good food, a huge duty-free shopping area, along with other airport-appropriate stores and everything you could ask for from kids’ toys to a portfolio of pop-up stores that included just about every high-end luxury designer in the world. In other words, it was like a super nice mall, and I hate malls, so I guess it shows how shitty my standards are for airports.
But I digress. About 50 minutes later, my friend sent me another screen-grab — which turned out to be the actual arrest report; just without Woods mug uploaded at that point. I tried to figure out if it was legit, but I had already surpassed by daily international high-speed allowance. (Yeah, screw you, Verizon.) That basically means your relatively quick connection suddenly moves to a grinding halt and aside from receiving and sending text messages, nothing else is functional.
I was wary about these random screenshots, so I didn’t mind not being in front of my laptop and figuring out if the arrest report was legit. Shortly after, my friend followed-up and passed along two more screen-grabs. Yep, confirmed. Holy shit.
Team Tiger released a statement that was first reported by USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio:
“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said in a statement.
“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.
“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.”
Oh, good, so, it wasn’t alcohol, but instead, perhaps a cocktail of medication made him boozy. It still doesn’t pass the smell test, though. perhaps there wasn’t alcohol involved if you believe that at 3am on a holiday (but i know, innocent until proven guilty!). And maybe it’s because I live in NYC and don’t drive regularly that I can’t ever see myself in such a situation, but who knows. Nothing is right these days.
Again, that mug shot. *cringe*
OK, let’s address Tiger’s statement because there are two things that we have to discuss. Actually, three. First of all, drunk driving is no laughing matter. Alcohol-related car accidents costs thousands of Americans their lives every year. I saw a recent government report that cited I know that it happens and we’re all flawed and alcohol can inhibit good judgment. Wait, Tiger said no alcohol was involved. It was a hard no, too. I take these public denials or anything he even says in a press conference with a grain of salt.
I mean, Tiger and his team lost all their credibility when it came to coming clean and telling the truth, as women continuously came out with damning “proof” of their relationship with Woods or simply accusations, which, at that point, we’d read and heard way more than we would have ever imagined — a persona so different than the mythical creature Tiger’s father Earl Woods constructed and Tiger supported.
Secondly, remember Tiger’s agent Mark Steinberg getting arrested for a DWI in New York in 2012? Via Golf.com:
“It’s a medical issue that I was dealing with,” Steinberg said in the email. “It’s not what you think.”
Hmm. Sounds familiar. I remember when that happened and it was reported Steiny told the officer “who he was.” You know, a big fucking deal. You can’t arrest Tiger Woods’ agent! However, in an interview with Golf.com, Sgt. Fisher said that the arrest was alcohol-related and police were not aware of any medical issues with Steinberg.
“There was no implication of a medical issue — no indication of that,” Fisher said. “He was administered a Breathalyzer test and failed.”
The DWI and Aggravated DWI charges are both first offenses for Steinberg, and he has no prior history of driving under the influence in New York State, Fisher said.
We’ve also seen Tiger obviously in pain trying to finish a round or he was so debilitated that he was forced to withdraw before the tournament week began or he’d try and end up realizing his body and/or mind couldn’t handle it and withdrawn. There were also a fair number of times where he appeared to be in pain or struggle physically, but then when asked if that were the case or how his body was holding up, he’d say without missing a beat that x-injury wasn’t a cause for concern and/or his back troubles didn’t have an adverse effect on his play, etc.
Then, the following day, he would withdraw because he was in too much pain. He’s done this enough times that we definitely can’t take him at his word. Totally different situation and topic, but the analogy still works. I’ve always heard the saying that every press secretary as a finite number of lies he can tell when he steps up to that podium. Sean Spicer essentially failed on Day 1, as he read a statement that sounded like a cross between a lame excoriation and a hostage situation.e.
Spicer, Sarah Hucakbee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, the embattled Mike Flynn, et. al. have zero credibility. Spicey didn’t get off to the best start at his first-ever press briefing. The Trump Administration has proved over and over to shamelessly and flagrantly flout our country’s democratic processes, principles and institutions on nearly an hourly basis. Or they just straight-up lie and contradict each other before the boss comes out and throws them all under the bus.
I just feel sad and bad for Tiger. I understand if he looks a bit disheveled after getting no sleep (though, to be fair, he is kind of used to it). We’ve seen Tiger at what we thought was rock bottom or pretty close — with regard to his golf game — several times since that infamous car accident during Thanksgiving weekend in 2009. Sure, he won non-major, puny titles on the PGA Tour in 2013 and he was even named Player of the Year, but at the end of the day, those trophies weren’t of the utmost importance back then. Almost eight years later, Woods still hasn’t won another major since his 14th title in the 2007 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
The past four years I’ve had a front-row seat to watching Tiger’s slow decline and strange fall to grace yet also appeared to grow as an individual, friend, teammate and father. It was injury after injury and then it was the same over-hype over speculating on his condition, return and play. I’d seen it so many times that I’m fairly certain I already knew I’d seen the end in 2013. It wasn’t anything personal against Tiger; it was mostly because he genuinely became a different person after that fated Friday night the week of Thanksgiving in 2009.
Woods endured a fourth back surgery last month. Less than a week ago, his digital team published a blog on TigerWoods.com that included an update on his health — which was overwhelmingly positive (not that Team Tiger has ever been known to not tell the truth).
“…It is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years.
“I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked. I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope. The process leading up to my decision to have surgery was exhaustive. I consulted with a specialist, and after weighing my options, that’s when I decided to go to Texas to have surgery.
“You mention the word ‘fusion,’ and it’s scary. Other guys who have had fusions or disc replacements like Davis Love III, Retief Goosen, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins and Dudley Hart … they have all come back and played. But more than anything, it made their lives better. That’s the most important thing … that I can have a life again with my kids.
“I did everything I could to play at Augusta and was ready to go. Unfortunately, it was kind of like the 2008 U.S. Open. The pain was post-impact when I swung the club. I figured, ‘Can I handle it?’ This time the answer was, ‘probably not.’ That shows the effect nerve pain can have.
“Obviously, it was a huge disappointment not to play. I hate to miss any major, especially the Masters, but the reality is I just couldn’t play. Again, I want to congratulate Sergio on a great win.
“As for returning to competitive golf, the long-term prognosis is positive. 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.”
I have no idea what Tiger is actually thinking, but does he really? Four back surgeries. Regardless if he feels better or less pain, he’s still going to struggle with back flare-ups in the future. He shared some details of his plans for the upcoming months and a timetable.
The Internet nearly broke Monday when Woods’ mug shot surfaced. Though there were plenty who had jokes and snark, most people seemed genuinely sad and concerned for the wellbeing of this shadow who is considered the best to have played the game.
I might have nightmares that incorporate the haunting look in Tiger’s mug as I wake up in a cold sweat. No, but seriously, it seems like Golf Twitter believes Tiger needs help and his actions are a cry for help. I don’t know why he chose to get behind the wheel Sunday night, nor will I try. However, I hope he’s OK and the psycho-babble hot takes from armchair therapists…
OK, I’m falling asleep on my keyboard. Apologies if this didn’t make any sense because I really can’t keep my eyes open any longer.