Tiger Woods' mugshot nadir 'a bizarre curio'

By Sports Desk May 29, 2020

The face staring down the lens of the camera at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is familiar, and yet almost unrecognisable.

With hair unkempt, eyes lifeless and the beginnings of an uncultivated beard, it is in many ways just another ordinary mugshot.

But the man in the picture is not ordinary, far from it; the man in the picture is Tiger Woods.

It was on May 29, 2017 that Woods reached his nadir, and the world bore witness to it, aghast as the photograph spread rapidly across news sources and social media.

That image, captured after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, demanded a second look just to make sure you could believe your eyes.

With a countenance that betrayed his inner tumult, Woods' fall from grace was painfully apparent.

The very existence of that mugshot, the fact that such a scenario should ever have transpired, has only become more remarkable with the passage of time.

Had Woods not revived his life and career to such a glorious extent that he was tasting major success again by the time of the 2019 Masters, the image would have served as a stark cautionary tale, a reminder that even great talent and vast wealth cannot shelter someone from the consequences of following their own worst impulses.

It would have plagued him, accompanying stories of further misdemeanours and transgressions to sit alongside his charge for reckless driving, having been found to have had five different drugs in his system at this time of his arrest. 

Instead, that shot of Woods is more of a bizarre curio from an alternate reality he briefly occupied, one which would have led him to somewhere very different from the place he is today.

For as shocking as his decline may have been, the comeback is more apt to take one's breath away. It is harder to climb than it is to fall.

Tiger's ascent back to the peak led to pictures altogether more joyous, the celebrations that greeted the confirmation of his 15th major win captured in images where Woods – two years older than in his mugshot – looks a decade younger.

Woods' Augusta exultation capped an extraordinary return to the top, making an impostor of the man in the mugshot. 

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