Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — The diversion program for intoxicated drivers that golfer Tiger Woods is expected to enter Friday is one of several across the country aimed at reducing the number of repeat offenders and backlogs of court cases.
Woods, 41, is scheduled to plead guilty at a court hearing to reckless driving, a less severe charge than driving under the influence, as part of a Palm Beach County, Florida, program that has graduated almost 2,500 first-time offenders since it began four years ago.
Deputy State Attorney Richard Clausi, who oversees the county’s misdemeanor prosecutions, said that less than 1 percent of the program’s participants have reoffended.
He said the key has been getting offenders to take responsibility for their actions without requiring a trial and making sure they complete the program.
“It’s still early, but we think it has been a success,” he said.
In the diversion program, Woods will spend a year on probation and pay a $250 fine and court costs. He also must attend DUI school, perform 20 hours of community service and attend a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detail how their lives were damaged.
Since he was intoxicated with prescription drugs and marijuana, according to court records, he will also be required to undergo regular drug tests.
To qualify, offenders must show a judge that they have already begun complying with these requirements.
If Woods completes the program, he can ask a judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction, but if he is charged again, Woods could be treated like a second-time DUI offender.
He would not be eligible again for diversion and he could face possible jail time, a mandatory license suspension and stiffer fines.
Woods was arrested about 2 a.m. May 29 when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked awkwardly on the roadside and had damage to the driver’s side.
Woods had the active ingredient for marijuana, two painkillers — Vicodin and Dilaudid — the sleep drug Ambien and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system but no alcohol, according to a toxicology report released in August.
U.S. Women’s Open
Prestigious Pebble Beach will host its first U.S. Women’s Open in 2023 and the U.S. Open in 2027.
The premier events will be USGA championships Nos. 14 and 15 at the picturesque course along the Monterey Peninsula.
Pebble last hosted the U.S. Open in 2010.