It’s been a troubling time lately for Tiger Woods in the wake of his arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence.
Support and concern for Woods’ well-being have been at the forefront of the reaction, and Paul Azinger has now put forth his concern in no uncertain terms.
A former Ryder Cup captain and current Fox Sports lead golf analyst, Azinger went on Fox Sports 1’s “The Herd” Thursday to talk about the upcoming U.S. Open.
But at some point, the conversation turned to Woods.
After his arrest, the 41-year-old Woods publicly stated that alcohol was not involved. Instead, Woods noted, the issue “was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
Woods was found asleep at the wheel, would fail field sobriety tests and blew .000 when administered an alcohol breath test. Footage of the arrest and Woods’ time in the Blood Alcohol testing center at Palm Beach County Jail were released. Woods appeared disoriented in both videos.
While the footage seemed to corroborate Woods’ statement, there is still the issue of the medication.
Azinger said he hasn’t had much contact with Woods of late. But through his own chats with Tour players, Azinger said there has been concern in this area for Woods before.
“I know firsthand there’s some players that think there’s a problem there with Tiger,” Azinger said. “I don’t, I haven’t been around him much the last few years. But there are some players out there that are saying this has been a problem for a while.”
The chat about Woods starts around the 7:30 mark.
Azinger added that if Woods does have an issue with medication, that it needs to be addressed by those who love him most.
“Tiger’s close to a few people. Not many. And the few people that are around Tiger probably know there’s a problem,” Azinger said. “And if they don’t intervene, then it’s on them. But addiction’s a big deal, and if he’s addicted, then somebody better intervene.”
Woods has had severe injury woes in recent years, recently undergoing a fourth back surgery since 2014. In May, the 14-time major champion posted an uplifting update in which he stated, “I haven’t felt this good in years.”
But less than a week later came his arrest.
Azinger offered sympathy for a player he feels may be struggling with medication after a litany of operations.
“He’s had a lot of back surgeries, he’s had knee surgeries, he’s had an Achilles’ issue. He’s had a lot of pain,” Azinger said. “It would be easy for Tiger to get hooked on that, that very addictive drug, if he’s hooked on it. I hope he’s not.”
In any case, the hope from Azinger matches the sentiment of the public.
The goal is for Woods to simply get into a good place again.
“I hope he can turn his life around first,” Azinger said. “Then see if he’s got another gear to try to play some decent golf again.”