Good News On Tiger

Tiger Woods has had a terrible few years. Well, really a pretty terrible decade. Leaving aside the bounce back year in 2013, pretty much nothing good has happened for him in this decade.

But finally there is some good news. And it came from him in a statement he tweeted yesterday: “I’m currently receiving professional help to manage my medications and the ways that I deal with back pain and sleep disorder. I want to thank everyone for the amazing outpouring of support and understanding, especially the fans and players on Tour.” 

His agent, Mark Steinberg, expanded on that in a conversation with ESPN saying that Woods has “gone and checked himself into a facility” and is “receiving in-patient treatment.” 

Good. Seriously. That truly is the best news involving Tiger in a long time. No joke. That is very good news. And the fact that the best news from Tiger in years involves him saying that he’s going to rehab for meds tells you everything you need to know about where things are for him right now.

That statement and the follow up comments indicating that he’s in rehab doesn’t mean that everything’s right in Tiger’s world. Far from it. But it at least indicates that he knows something’s wrong.

And that’s further along than he and his team were in the wake of his DUI arrest over Memorial Day weekend. If you’ll recall, that arrest came when Tiger was found at 3am, napping it out on his car, with the engine running, and unable to tell police officers where he was, or pass basic field sobriety tests. After that news broke, Team Tiger released a statement that read in part: “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

Calling it an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medications,” as if driving under whatever combination of medications that led him to sleeping in his car while it was still running at 3am was somehow better than driving under the influence of alcohol.

What’s a worse example of denial: saying I may have looked like a mess and partially wrecked my car, but at least I wasn’t drinking or failing to say that there’s a problem if you’re mixing meds and falling asleep behind the wheel? Tie for last. Especially when, according to the police report, that list of meds included Xanax and Vicodin, two meds that the FDA warns when used in combination “may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma and death.”

Forget the dangers of driving a car on Xanax and Vicodin, based on that warning, doing anything on Xanax and Vicodin could kill you.

But at least he recognizes there’s a problem now. Or someone around him was able to get through to him, at least enough to get him to seek help. Hopefully this about genuinely seeking help and not just going through the PR motions. Hopefully this is about him doing the hard work and getting right and not just an attempt to save what’s left of a wrecked reputation and a crumbling Tiger Inc.

If not, the next time he gets behind the wheel of a car pilled up, he might not be so lucky. Even worse, one of us might not be so lucky.

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