Police dashcam footage shows Tiger Woods confused, stumble in sobriety test during arrest
New details emerged on Tiger Woods' arrest as police found both tires on the left side of his car were flat, and authorities described fresh damage to the driver's side. AP

DUBLIN, Ohio — Another public embarrassment for Tiger Woods is shifting to the legal side following his arrest in Florida on a DUI charge, with one criminal expert suggesting Woods made a mistake by claiming publicly that prescription medicine was to blame.

On the eve of the Memorial Tournament, which Woods won a record five times, PGA Tour players who grew up admiring his dominance in golf wished for the best.

Commissioner Jay Monahan said the tour would be there to help him.

"I think Tiger's statement on Monday night, where he apologized and he said he was going to do everything he can in his power to make sure this doesn't happen again, I think says everything," Monahan told The Associated Press on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time). "He's a member of our family, and we're going to do everything we can to help and support him."

Jupiter Police on patrol at 2 a.m. Monday noticed a Mercedes pulled awkwardly to the side of the road with the engine running, the brake lights on and a right turn signal blinking. Both tires on the left side of the car were flat, and police described fresh damage to the driver's side.

Inside the car, Woods was sound asleep at the wheel. Police said in incident reports that his speech was slurred and he didn't know where he was. He was unable to tie his shoes and failed a sobriety test. A breath test registered 0.0 for alcohol, corroborating what Woods said in a statement issued Monday evening.

"I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved," Woods said. "What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly."

Police released the dash-cam footage Wednesday night. It shows officers approach the car and Woods, who didn't know where he was. The footage also shows Woods stumble and sway through a field sobriety test.

His speech slow and slurred, Woods couldn't follow simple instructions or keep his balance during a dazed and disoriented encounter with police before he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The video images came from dash-cam footage, showing Woods with little capacity to stand still without swaying, repeat simple instruction or put one foot in front of the other.

The footage came from his arrest Monday in the dark of early morning when Jupiter police noticed his Mercedes parked on the side of a six-lane road, part of it in the road and part of it in the bicycle lane.


Police found the Woods sound asleep behind the wheel, according to an incident report. The engine was running, the brake lights were on and the right turn signal was blinking. Police also released photos of his car that showed both tires flat with minor damage around the bumpers.

When the officer asks Woods where he had been, the 14-time major champion says, "LA." He says he was headed down to Orange County.

The 1 hour, 39-minute video starts with the Jupiter police approaching Woods' car and ends with the cruiser pulling into the Palm Beach County jail, with Woods in handcuffs behind his back and sitting in the back seat.

Woods told the officers he had not been drinking, and two breath tests at the jail registered a 0.0. Woods issued a statement nearly 10 hours after he was released from jail on Monday that alcohol was not involved.

"What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications," Woods said in his statement. "I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly."

He told police he was taking prescription medicine. When asked what kind, his answer was redacted from the video tape. The arrest affidavit listed four medications, including Vicodin, that Woods reported taking.

Woods is to be arraigned July 5 in Palm Beach County court.

The video brings to life the troubling images contained in an incident report from the four Jupiter police officers who were at the scene.

His speech is slurred from his first words. When the officer points out that Woods shoe is untied, Woods places his right foot on the front of the police car and starts to fiddle with the laces.

"It's your other shoe that's untied," the officer says as Woods unties the laces.

"Now that one is, too," the officer adds.

When Woods is unable to tie the left shoe, the officer tells him he can take them off. Woods then tells the officer he doesn't remember what happened or being asleep in his car when police approached.

The field sobriety test was a failure from the start.

Woods struggled to simply put his feet together. When he did, he leaned forward after losing his balance.

He couldn't follow a red light the officer moved from side to side. When asked to walk a straight line by going heel-to-toe nine times, Woods staggered from the starting position. He never connected heel-to-toe. He often strayed outside the white line and occasionally lost his balance.


Woods couldn't raise one leg 6 inches off the round.

On his third try of understanding the alphabet instructions, he made it from A to Z.

The next instruction from the officer was to place his hands behind his back as they cuffed him and told him he was being arrested.

Woods, who had his fourth back surgery in three years on April 20, has not played since Feb. 2 in Dubai when he withdrew after the first round because of back spasms. The surgery means he is out for the rest of the PGA Tour season.

He was arrested and briefly jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence. He also agreed to a urine test.

It the first time Woods ran into trouble off the golf course since he plowed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Windermere, Florida, home in the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, which led to revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs. He eventually was cited for careless driving and fined $164.

Woods is to be arraigned July 5 in Palm Beach County court on the DUI charge.

Katie Phang, a former Florida prosecutor, said the statement in which Woods took full responsibility could come back to haunt him if he fights the charge.

"Tiger's statement was a bad idea. He should not have said anything," Phang said. "Now, he can't claim that he was not DUI and just was tired from a long day."

Douglas Duncan, a West Palm Beach attorney representing Woods, did not immediately return messages by phone or email from The Associated Press.

Woods told police he had taken several prescriptions. The arrest affidavit listed four medications, including Vicodin, that Woods reported taking. Vicodin is an opioid pain medication. The other three drugs appear to be misspelled. One is similar in spelling to Solax (a muscle relaxer) or Solox (for acid reflux). Another is similar in spelling to Etorix, a painkiller not currently approved in the United States.

David S. Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor, said the key to prosecuting Woods would be establishing the presence of Vicodin.

"You can't get him on a sleeping pill," said Weinstein, now a defense lawyer in Miami. "It has to be a controlled substance."

Under Florida law, a presumption of guilt exists if there is evidence of a blood-alcohol content of .08 or above. No such presumption exists when drugs are involved. Weinstein said prosecutors would have to use other evidence that Woods was impaired, such as failing roadside sobriety tests, being found asleep at the wheel or signs of a possible accident with his car. He said the presence of Vicodin in a urine test would not be enough.


"It has to affect your normal faculties," he said.

Weinstein said DUI suspects in Palm Beach County can be offered a diversion program at arraignment that drops the DUI charge to reckless driving, which results in probation, a $250 fine and other conditions such as taking a DUI course. Defendants typically do not lose their driver's license.

Any punishment from the PGA Tour is not made public.

Woods had his fourth back surgery on April 20 and is out the rest of the year. He has played just one PGA Tour event since August 2015 because of other back surgeries.

A tour spokesman declined to comment on whether Woods is subject to any penalty "conduct unbecoming," keeping to the longtime PGA Tour policy of not discussing whether players are disciplined.

Steven Bowditch was arrested during the Phoenix Open for extreme DUI. He has not missed a tournament for which he has been eligible since then. The only known suspensions in recent years were John Daly and Matt Every, but only because they made it public.

That was the least of players' concerns at Muirfield Village.

"I don't know all the details about it, but hopefully it's not a worse problem than it is," former Masters champion Adam Scott said.

Jason Day, who grew up idolizing Woods and often consults him on golf matters, said he sent Woods a text and has not heard back.

"From what I've heard, it was like different dosage of prescribed medicine that he took," Day said. "I mean, he's had four back surgeries and seven knee surgeries and some Achilles and stuff like that. It's tough to see him go through this. Hopefully, he's on the right dosage and he can get through this stage and hopefully come back."

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