Who Is That and What Has He Done With Tiger Woods?

The incredible fall of Tiger Woods has been one of the strangest storylines in sports over the last decade. His DUI arrest in the wee hours of Memorial Day morning is just the latest embarrassment for golf’s once invincible superhero. The story alone would have been enough. But, of course, the mugshot was released. And, man, what a mugshot it was. If the photo is any indication of Woods’ well-being, then Tiger is in a bad way. It’s humiliating. Woods looks like a run-of-the-mill average Joe who took too much of something and got behind the wheel. He doesn’t look like the greatest golfer of his generation.

The story alone would have been enough. But, of course, the mugshot was released. And, man, what a mugshot it was. If the photo is any indication of Woods’ well-being, then Tiger is in a bad way. It’s humiliating. Woods looks like a run-of-the-mill average Joe who took too much of something and got behind the wheel. He doesn’t look like the greatest golfer of his generation.

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Mostly, it’s just sad. Even if you weren’t a fan of Tiger when he was in his prime and waited for him to be dethroned as the king of the golfing world, you can’t take joy in a fall this far from grace. The man in that photo is unrecognizable. And that’s saying a lot when the man in that photo is also one of the most recognizable people in the world.

Woods released a statement last night explaining that alcohol was not involved in the incident. The arrest report that was released today confirmed that statement. Tiger submitted to two breathalyzers and blew .000 both times.

Tiger’s statement went on to say that “what happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medication” and that he “didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected [him] so strongly.”

This raises a bigger issue. Tiger has undergone numerous surgeries over the last several years to repair an ailing back. I would be surprised to find that Woods had not been prescribed strong pain medication subsequent to those surgeries as it is accustomed. It is certainly possible that Tiger has developed a dependence on these medications through no fault of his own. Many an addict’s story begins with an injury in which he was prescribed narcotic pain medication. Of course, I’m speculating on something I have no direct knowledge of in Tiger’s case, but I don’t think the leap I’m taking is a very big one.

Whatever the full story is behind Tiger’s Memorial Day mugshot, I hope that he gets help if he needs it. I used to hope Tiger would find a way to win on the Tour again. Now, I just hope he can get his life together and find some sort of peace after a decade of chaos.

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