Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday morning for driving under the influence, but hours after his release from a jail near his Florida home issued a statement saying “alcohol was not involved.”
In the statement, released through his publicist Monday evening, Woods blamed his arrest on prescription drugs.
“What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications,” Woods said in the statement. “I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”
Woods, 41, had a fourth surgery on his back April 20. He has played only twice this year, the last time when he withdrew from a February event in Dubai, citing the bad back.
But Monday night, Mark Steinberg, Woods’s longtime agent, would not say whether the mix of medications Woods cited was related to his back problems.
“He wanted to clarify the situation,” Steinberg said by phone. “But there’s nothing further to provide right now.”
Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail at 7:18 a.m., according to police records. The 14-time major champion, whose career has been stalled for four years by a series of injuries, lives in Jupiter Island, Fla. He was released at 10:50 a.m.
“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said in his statement. “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. …
“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.”
A full arrest report could be released Tuesday.
The arrest continues a long period in Woods’s career in which the news he makes comes off the golf course. The dominant player of the past 20 years has not won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, a victory that preceded major knee and leg surgery. The following November, he was involved in a single-car crash near his then-home in Orlando that led to revelations about his serial infidelity and, eventually, his divorce.
Though he eventually returned to the No. 1 ranking in the world — a spot he has held, off and on, for 683 weeks, more than any player in history — his career has been marked by fits and starts since then, mostly because of the problems with his back and knees. The last of his 79 PGA Tour victories came in August 2013.
Because of his most recent back surgery, Woods won’t be able to play in next month’s Quicken Loans National, the Washington-area PGA Tour stop that annually is run by and benefits Woods’s foundation. In the past when he has missed the event because of injury, he has appeared for pre-tournament ceremonies and for the trophy presentation. There’s no indication whether he will do that June 29-July 2, when the tournament is staged at TPC Potomac for the first time.