Early Monday morning, Tiger Woods was found by police passed out behind the wheel of his car in Jupiter, Fla. He was incoherent and groggy and looked to be in bad shape. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. It was initially reported that Woods was drunk, but after police reports confirmed that he hadn’t tested positive for alcohol in his system, the story changed to Woods’ prescription-drug use.
His mug shot didn’t help matters. Once the vibrant fresh face of golf, the arrested Woods looked like the creepy uncle of his former self.
Woods, who has a history of knee and back injuries, told the officers that he was on several drugs, mostly for pain, a story that will most likely prove to be true, but the implied scuttlebutt after Woods’ arrest was whether or not Woods was abusing his pain medication. It didn’t help Woods’ case that famed golfer and noted friend Jack Nicklaus implied that Woods might have a bigger issue.
“I’m a friend of Tiger’s,” Nicklaus told Golf.com. “I feel bad for him. He’s struggling. ... He needs support from a lot of people. I’ll be one of them.”
Charles Barkley, another noted friend of Woods’, added that Nicklaus doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“Even Jack Nicklaus, somebody I really respect, talking about, ‘Tiger really needs help.’ Well, he don’t know that. We don’t know if Tiger has a drug problem,” Barkley said during a radio appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic Philadelphia, according to TMZ.
Barkley added, “He just had a bad reaction [to prescription medication]. He wasn’t out there drinking and driving.”
Only Woods truly knows if he has a problem with prescription drugs, and I don’t think that any of us should be armchair-diagnosing a drug addiction if we aren’t there, but I must admit that a report by Business Insider, which indicates the number of drugs Woods was reportedly taking, does raise an eyebrow on even the biggest Woods fan.
According to the police report, which likely misspelled the names of some of the drugs, Woods was taking “soloxex,” “torix,” “viox” and Vicodin. No one has been able to confirm what the hell “soloxex” is or what drug it might be. Calls to the Jupiter Police Department by several news outlets in an attempt to clarify the name of the drug have not been returned.
Vicodin is a highly addictive painkiller that is usually prescribed to someone experiencing high levels of pain. Torix, which is most likely a misspelling for the drug Turox, is another pain drug that helps with swelling. According to Business Insider, it’s banned in the U.S. And Vioxx, which Woods notes he hasn’t taken in the past year, has been banned in the U.S. since 2004. If Woods was taking this drug as late as 2016, then, as Dr. David Samadi, chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Fox Business, it’s unclear how Woods obtained the medication.
“I’m not sure where he got it,” Samadi said. “It was pulled from the market because of concerns that [it] increases your risk of a heart attack and stroke when used long-term and in high dosage.”
Since turning pro in 1996, Woods has undergone surgery on his knee, legs and back. Business Insider did note that no one besides Woods knows how physicians have decided to treat his pain, but added that pain medications, including opioid painkillers, are common in such situations.