Former world No.1 golfer Tiger Woods has said he was not drinking after being arrested for driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
Woods, who has won 14 majors in a glittering golf career that has stalled in recent years due to back injuries, said he had instead suffered an “unexpected reaction” to medication.
The 41-year-old took responsibility for the incident and apologised to his fans in a statement.
“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said.
“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved.
“What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.
“I didn’t realise the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.
“I would like to apologise 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.
“I fully cooperated with law enforcement, and I would like to personally thank the representatives of the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for their professionalism.”
The American golfing great was reportedly taken into custody at about 3am on Monday (local time) near his Jupiter Island home in Orlando, Florida, in the United States. He was booked at 7.18am.
Woods was released several hours later on his own recognisance, according to an online police report.
Woods has endured a frustrating period with constant injury setbacks limiting his ability to play golf.
He is recovering from his fourth bout of back surgery but said last week he was feeling good.
“It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back and it is hard to express how much better I feel,” he wrote on his official website.
“It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years.
“Presently, I’m not looking ahead. I can’t twist for another two and a half to three months.
“Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me. I am concentrating on short-term goals.”
Woods’ life unravelled in 2009 after allegations about affairs with several women that 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 that turned his previously unblemished life and career upside down.
Woods admitted to infidelity and even underwent sex-addiction therapy. The scandal ultimately cost him several lucrative endorsement deals, while other sponsors shifted away from using him in marketing campaigns, but did not end their contracts with him.
A 79-time winner on the PGA Tour who was the world’s top-ranked golfer 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.
– with AAP