Tiger Woods has agreed to enter the first-time DUI offender diversion program in a plea deal reached just before his lawyer was to appear in court on his behalf.
Woods’s case had been scheduled for Florida’s Palm Beach County on Wednesday morning and his lawyer had expected to enter a plea of not guilty, according to the Palm Beach Post. Instead, the hearing did not take place and Woods’s presence was not required in court. The program, prosecutors say, requires offenders to plead guilty to reckless driving, for which they are placed on 12 months’ probation and required to complete DUI education classes. They also cannot drink alcohol or take drugs while on probation.
Adrienne Ellis, a Palm Beach County assistant state attorney, told the Associated Press that the golfer will enter the diversion program on Oct. 25. Douglas Duncan, an attorney for Woods, had no comment.
Woods was arrested May 29 in Jupiter, Fla., after police found him asleep at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz, which was pulled to the side of the road and had two flat tires and body damage. Officers said that Woods’s speech was slurred and he showed no awareness of where he was. Woods later said the incident occurred because he had mixed pain and anti-insomnia medications he had been prescribed as he recovers from back surgery. He was charged with three misdemeanor counts and entered a treatment program.
In early July, he tweeted that he would continue “to tackle this going forward.”
“I recently completed an out of state private intensive program,” he wrote. “I will continue to tackle this going forward with my doctors, family and friends. I am so very thankful for all of the support I’ve received.”
Woods, who has appeared in only three events since 2016, underwent fusion surgery on his back in April, the fourth time he has had a back procedure. He said that, while he hopes to return to playing the level of golf at brought him 14 major championships, his goal now, at 41, is to be healthy enough to play with his two children without pain.
Woods has not played golf since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic after the first round in February and his fall from the top of sports, which began after a 2009 incident that led to his divorce, has been so head-spinning that he’s almost an afterthought. In fact, ESPN’s the Undefeated unveiled its list of the top 50 black athletes of all time and, shockingly, Woods’s name was nowhere to be found. Dumping on Woods, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon writes, has become a sport.
“You can dislike Tiger and you can dislike golf, but if you fail to acknowledge his competitive brilliance, his dominance of the oldest sport on the planet, his impact culturally, athletically and economically, then you should recuse yourself from weighing in on an effort to rank the greatest black athletes,” Wilbon writes. “There’s no responsible definition of ‘great’ in the context of sports that Tiger Woods doesn’t fit. Any conversation that isn’t driven by personal agenda couldn’t put him any lower than 10th.”