This is rock bottom, the early-morning arrest and the disturbing mug shot and the uncomfortable sense that the man who once had everything – fame, power, the admiration of sports fans everywhere – now seems at a personal and professional crossroads, lost and in need of help.
Details are still scarce about Tiger Woods’ arrest Monday after being charged with driving under the influence. Jail records and news reports show that Woods, recovering from surgery, was arrested around 3 a.m., booked at 7:18 a.m., and released shortly before 11 a.m. His agent, Mark Steinberg, has not responded to a request for comment, but a police report with more information should become available Tuesday.
There’s a good chance the next 24 hours will be even more humiliating for the 41-year-old father of two, and so the overwhelming feeling here is one of profound sadness.
Sad because one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet has been reduced to this new low.
Sad because the most dominant golfer ever has been betrayed by his body, and undone by his ego, and his competitive future is a mystery.
Sad because he needs support, and guidance, and it’s unclear who will provide it.
Sad because he has meant so much to so many, because he has touched so many lives, and his fall from grace has been staggering.
“It’s embarrassing for Tiger,” said Notah Begay III, one of Woods’ closest friends. “It’s something that you can’t go back and change.”
Just last week Woods expressed optimism about the future. He underwent fusion surgery on his ailing back in April, his fourth procedure since 2014, and he said that it was “hard to express how much better I feel” and he experienced “instant relief” and he hasn’t “felt this good in years.” Maybe he never would play high-level golf again, but at least he’d be able to lead an active life.
And then three days later, he was arrested for DUI, which suggests that Woods’ issues run deeper than a physical recovery.
A support system is what helped Begay, after he was arrested in 2000 following his second DUI arrest. He cleaned up his life thanks to his wife and recovery groups.
“These are the types of situations that can make a person realize that there needs to be a new direction that’s formed here,” Begay said. “That can happen. There’s a lot of opportunity for things to improve from this point on.”
The hope here is that Woods realizes that, that he has found his last bottom, that something positive can come out of this.
The hope here is that he isn’t just another cautionary tale.