No jail for Woods, despite guilty plea

WASHINGTON • Tiger Woods pleaded guilty in a Florida court on Friday to reckless driving, the state attorney said, after police found the golf champion asleep in his Mercedes-Benz beside a road in May.

Under the plea agreement reached in Palm Beach County, north of Miami, the former world No. 1 will not serve jail time unless he commits major violations of his probation.

The deal requires the 14-time Major champion to spend one year on probation, pay a US$250 (S$341) fine, perform 50 hours' community service and complete "DUI (driving under the influence) school", among other conditions, said Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach County.

Woods was calm while entering the plea, Aronberg added.

Woods, 41, had five drugs in his system, including the opioid painkiller hydrocodone, when he was arrested on May 29 in Jupiter, Florida, according to a toxicology report police released at the time.

They arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The toxicology report also showed the presence of the powerful painkiller hydromorphone, anxiety drug alprazolam (also known as Xanax), sleep drug zolpidem (also known as Ambien) and THC, a chemical component of marijuana.

The golfer told officers he was taking Vicodin and Xanax to deal with pain from back surgery, which he underwent in April for the fourth time.

According to Aronberg, Woods must "subject himself to random drug and alcohol testing through the year" and enter a programme requiring counselling. He must also refrain from using or possessing alcohol or drugs unless they are prescribed by a doctor.

The golfer last played competitively at the Dubai Desert Classic in January but withdrew with back spasms. ESPN reported this month that doctors have cleared him to resume full golf activities, though his post-surgery rehabilitation is ongoing.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 29, 2017, with the headline 'No jail for Woods, despite guilty plea'. Print Edition | Subscribe