The arrest of Tiger Woods early Monday morning meant that there was a mug shot and, as mug shots go, this one was a doozy.

The image, which showed the golfer looking tired and heavy-lidded, was quickly passed around social media and published across the Internet. It turned up looking quite different, though, on ESPN.

Woods’s hair, especially up top, was less unruly, less unkempt and shorter than it was in the mug shot. It appeared as if, perhaps, he had just visited a stylist, and conspiracy theorists were quick to speculate that the network was sprucing up a man who used to be one of the most popular athletes in the world. In addition, the background for the small “Breaking News” image was changed to a TV-friendly blue from its cop-shop green. Frankly, it looked more like sloppy Photoshop cropping on a low-resolution image than anything else.

“We have utilized a standard template for on-air headshots, which led to the background being dropped for consistency,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told The Post in an email. “We will revisit this process to improve it going forward.”

By Tuesday morning, ESPN was using the full mug shot, with a blue background, as information contained in his arrest report became public.


(ESPN screenshot by The Washington Post)

The police report indicates that Woods was asleep at the wheel of his 2015 black Mercedes-Benz when police came upon it stopped illegally on a Jupiter, Fla., street. The engine was running and the brake lights were on. Woods was disoriented and it took several attempts for him to comply with officers’ request to recite the alphabet backward. Woods apologized Monday night and cited medication, not alcohol, as the reason behind the incident. A breathalyzer test registered at zero.