Tiger Woods is once again front-page news — but certainly not in the way the former world No. 1 hoped or envisioned.
Tiger boosters and critics were greeted on Memorial Day by headlines blaring details of the arrest of the greatest golfer of his — or any — generation for driving under the influence and the police mug shot of the rumpled fallen superstar gazing blankly at the camera under half-closed eyelids.
Here's Tiger Woods' mugshot after his arrest on DUI charge pic.twitter.com/d6f8CpOIc5— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 29, 2017
It’s an image Woods haters and apologists as well are not likely to forget any time soon, and it came just a few days after the winner of 14 major championships proclaimed himself pain-free following a fourth back surgery and “unequivocally” eager to resume his professional golf career.
For sure, there were those who chose to make light of a situation that certainly could have been a lot worse since no one was physically harmed by Woods’ incredibly bad judgment to get behind the wheel while under the influence of what Tiger said later on Monday was an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
That reaction caused Jupiter, Fla. police to pull him over at around 3 a.m. ET on Monday, book him at 7:18 a.m., and release him at 10:50 a.m. And, of course, there were the comparisons to that fire hydrant Woods’ SUV backed into on Thanksgiving night 2009.
Breaking: Video of Tiger Woods surfaces of him driving on a Jupiter golf course yesterday afternoon pic.twitter.com/hN8PDUIAk5— Shooter McGavin (@ShooterMcGavin_) May 29, 2017
But the underlying emotion from the few who know Woods well was one of melancholy for a sports figure who once dominated his game, captured the imagination of even less-than-casual fans, and is a devoted father of two. Hank Haney, Tiger’s coach for six years, called it “sad.”
“I don’t really know what else to say other than that,” Haney said on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio Monday after the news broke. “It’s a sad picture, a sad headline … It’s hard to be Tiger Woods and it has been for a long time.”
Notah Begay III, Tiger’s old friend who worked hard to overcome his own DUI 17 years ago, urged his Stanford teammate to use the occasion as a wake-up call.
“It’s embarrassing for Tiger,” Golf Channel analyst Begay said on Monday. “It’s something that you can’t go back and change.”
Like the humiliation of his sex scandal, the shame of which Michael Jordan believes continues to haunt him.
And now this.
The hope here is, while Tiger “cannot erase … the things that happened,” as MJ told ESPN The Magazine last year about T-Dub, that he will get the help he needs to overcome his latest woes, put this most recent indignation behind him, and move on with his life for his and his kids’ sake.