Tom Sorensen

Was the defining shot of Tiger Woods’ golf career taken by Palm Beach County sheriff?

Injuries were the biggest hindrance for golf’s Tiger Woods ... until Tuesday morning.
Injuries were the biggest hindrance for golf’s Tiger Woods ... until Tuesday morning. AP

The mug shot of Tiger Woods after his DUI arrest early Sunday morning is telling. In the picture Woods no longer is the man who intimidated fellow golfers on tournament Sundays.

His eyes look as if they sank and his hair is a mess. Woods probably didn’t expect to pose for a picture.

Woods was found on the side of a Palm Beach County road. The engine was running but he was asleep. Woods did blow a 0.00 on a Breathalyzer, and complied when asked for a urine test. He spent more than three hours in the Palm Beach County jail.

Woods says his condition was created by a combination of prescription drugs. But doctors and/or pharmacists often tell a patient/customer which drugs should not be taken together.

When Woods was the best golfer in the world, he controlled his sport. You’ve seen him move around Augusta National Golf Club or Quail Hollow Club. It’s as if the tees, fairways and greens were his.

Some players joke with fans. Woods sinks inside himself. It works, or did. At 41, however, he has struggled with knee, Achilles and back injuries. He’s undergone back surgery multiple times, most recently five weeks ago.

Whether he drank or not, the arrest will form a piece of his legacy. If liquor contributed, it will comprise a major piece.

Woods hasn’t played tournament golf for four months, and regardless of how you feel about him, he is missed. He is the rare golfer fans pull for and against.

I was at Augusta National on a Sunday when, for the first time since Thursday, he got hot and moved up the leader board. His gallery, already big, became enormous. Men and women who worked in the media center would sneak away for a few minutes to watch Woods on the building’s TVs. That hadn’t happened the previous three days because Woods had yet to challenge for the lead.

Woods is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. He now has one of the most recognizable mug shots.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

More from this issue of the Tom Talks newsletter: