Former world number one golfer Tiger Woods said an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications was to blame for his early-morning DUI arrest near his Jupiter Island home in Florida on Monday.
Woods, who underwent surgery last week to relieve lingering back pain, was booked at 7.18 am (1118 GMT) and released several hours later on his own recognizance, Palm Beach County Police said in an online report.
Woods said in a statement released by his spokesman that alcohol was not a factor in his arrest but apologised and added that he took full responsibility.
“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” he said.
“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.”
Woods, who is second on the all-time list with 14 major titles, said he cooperated with police and wanted to thank the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for their professionalism.
“I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again,” he added.
The incident occurred less than a week after Woods expressed optimism about his future following back surgery, saying on his website that he experienced “instant relief” and had not “felt this good in years.”
Woods has previously made headlines away from the golf course. His private life unraveled in late 2009 over allegations about affairs with several women and ultimately led to the end of his marriage.
Those allegations followed a bizarre early morning car accident outside his Florida home that rapidly ballooned into a fully-fledged sex scandal which turned his previously unblemished life and career upside down.
The scandal ultimately cost Woods a number of lucrative endorsement deals, while other sponsors shifted away from using him in marketing but did not end their contracts with him.
Woods, whose current sponsors include Nike, Bridgestone, Hero, Kowa, Upper Deck, and Monster Energy was ranked 12th on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes in 2016, with total earnings of US$45.3 million, despite missing much of the year recovering from back surgery.
A 79-time winner on the PGA Tour who was world number one for a record 683 weeks, Woods lost form in recent years due to injuries and the mastering of a new swing while his ranking has plummeted to 876 after his long spell on the sidelines.
He has competed in only 19 events on the PGA Tour since the end of 2013, recording just one top-10 during that period along with seven missed cuts and three withdrawals. -- Reuters