By Ann Liguori
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The status of Tiger Woods has been an ongoing, giant question mark for quite some time. Most of those questions related to his back issues and if, and perhaps when, he would return to playing professional golf again.
Then Monday’s early-morning arrest on a DUI charge unfolded, followed by information released in the police report, and now, even bigger, more serious, disturbing questions loom about the golf superstar.
My initial questions predate Woods’ arrest and have to do with the number of back surgeries he has had, and why so many have been needed.
Looking back over reports and announcements that Woods has made on his website through the years, he has endured four back surgeries/procedures in four years, starting with the first one in March 2014. He had a second microdiscectomy surgery to remove a disc fragment that was pinching his nerve in September 2015. He had a follow-up procedure in October 2015 to “relieve discomfort,” and he recently had back surgery last month to “alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg.”
Is this much surgery normal? Who are his doctors? Why didn’t the first couple work?
Based on these surgeries and the extent of the nerve pain that Woods has commented about, one has to wonder what medications has he been taking.
In a statement released Monday after his arrest, Woods said that alcohol was not involved and that he had an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” He said he did not realize the mix of medications “had affected me so strongly.” Breathalyzer tests confirmed there was no alcohol in his system.
After his latest back procedure in April, Woods said, “I haven’t felt this good in years.”
So then, why is he taking so many painkillers? How many painkillers is he popping? Is he feeling “this good” because of the painkillers?
Has he become addicted to these painkillers?
The police report and dash cam arrest video showing Woods unable to walk a straight line and looking completely out of it contribute to the disturbing evidence.
The police report described him as having “extremely slow and slurred speech … mumbled and confused.” It went on to say that “Woods stated that he was coming from LA California from golfing.” (He was actually in Jupiter, Florida, near his home). It also said: “Woods stated that he did not know where he was. Woods had changed his story of where he was going and where he was coming from.”
Where was Woods and his vehicle prior to the police finding him asleep in his car on the side of the road? Reports described his vehicle as “having both flat tires on the driver’s side, rims damaged, damage to bumper & rear bumper, tail light out.
How did the vehicle get so damaged?
What happened prior to the police finding him is another mystery. Let’s hope no one was hurt. The car sure took a beating.
Woods is lucky to be alive. It could have been a lot worse had he or others been injured or killed.
In his statement, he apologized to family, friends and fans: “I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”
The next step for Woods is critical. He must ask himself hard questions and come up with serious answers. Right now, the question isn’t “Will the 14-time major champion play golf again?” but rather, “Will Tiger Woods, the human being whom many care about, be well again?”
Hopefully, that answer is yes.
Follow Ann on Twitter at @AnnLiguori