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Thursday, 25 February 2021

'Painkillers have become part of Tiger's life': CNN anchor is forced to apologize for saying he 'wasn't surprised' by Woods' crash and speculating that drugs were to blame

 A CNN anchor has sparked outrage for saying he was 'not entirely surprised' by Tiger Woods' horror car crash because 'painkillers have become part of his life'.

CNN Sports Reporter Andy Scholes was forced to apologize over comments he made live on air Tuesday about the horrific car wreck involving the 15-time major winner.

Woods, 45, had to be cut from the wreckage before undergoing emergency surgery on his right leg, ankle and foot after his SUV flipped multiple times in Los Angeles Tuesday morning.

Scholes immediately drew parallels between the accident and Woods' infamous 2017 DUI arrest where he was caught behind the wheel with five types of drugs in his system.

Woods was taking opioids for a back injury at the time and later entered rehab for addiction to painkillers. The sports star has grappled with injuries throughout his career, undergoing his fifth back surgery in December.

This week's crash is still under investigation but deputies said there was no sign Woods was impaired and he wasn't given a sobriety test at the scene.  

CNN Sports Reporter Andy Scholes (top right) has sparked outrage for saying he was 'not entirely surprised' by Tiger Woods' horror car crash because 'painkillers have become part of his life'

CNN Sports Reporter Andy Scholes (top right) has sparked outrage for saying he was 'not entirely surprised' by Tiger Woods' horror car crash because 'painkillers have become part of his life'


Stunned, I guess, but not entirely surprised by what we're seeing here,' Scholes told anchor Brianna Keilar during the breaking news segment announcing Woods' crash.

'Tiger, back in 2017, was found by police pulled over to the side of the road, asleep in his car. 

'He had said he had taken a lot of painkillers at that time because we all know Tiger has undergone a lot of surgeries over the years and painkillers have become a part of his life.'

Scholes faced a backlash on social media for bringing up Woods' past substance abuse while the extent of the sports star's injuries were still unclear.

One viewer slammed his comments 'disgusting' and 'completely insensitive.'

'I think it was completely insensitive that at the breaking news about Tigers accident the first thing you brought up were his past injuries,pain killers and alcohol. It was disgusting,' they wrote.


Other viewers fumed that it was a 'low-life statement' to dredge up the golf star's past as his condition was 'uncertain'.

'how can you say this @TigerWoods crash was no surprise because of his past? What a low-life statement,' one person tweeted.  

'Damn man you really said all that about a man whose condition is uncertain, wow! you don't belong on cnn!!' another wrote. 

Others hit out at Scholes for speculating on the cause of the crash without any evidence that Woods had any drugs in his system at the time.

Scholes (above) immediately drew parallels between the accident and Woods' infamous 2017 DUI arrest
Woods (in 2017 mug) was caught behind the wheel with five types of drugs in his system, despite the cause of this week's crash still being under investigation

Scholes (left)  immediately drew parallels between the accident and Woods' (right in mug) infamous 2017 DUI arrest where he was caught behind the wheel with five types of drugs in his system, despite the cause of this week's crash still being under investigation

Woods, 45, had to be cut from the wreckage (pictured) before undergoing emergency surgery on his right leg, ankle and foot after his SUV flipped multiple times along a black spot road in Los Angeles Tuesday morning

Woods, 45, had to be cut from the wreckage (pictured) before undergoing emergency surgery on his right leg, ankle and foot after his SUV flipped multiple times along a black spot road in Los Angeles Tuesday morning

The crash happened on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in LA on Tuesday morning. Woods was on his way to the Rolling Hills Country Club when he crashed 

Police say Woods was travelling at high speed when he hit a raised central reservation, smashed through a wooden road sign, splintered a tree and then rolled his SUV off the wrong side of the road where it came to rest at the bottom of an embankment

Police say Woods was travelling at high speed when he hit a raised central reservation, smashed through a wooden road sign, splintered a tree and then rolled his SUV off the wrong side of the road where it came to rest at the bottom of an embankment

'Can you not at least give him the benefit of the doubt that he's turned his life around and not on pain killers. 

'But instead it is the first thing you bring up and say you aren't shocked about his accident because of his past use of them,' one person tweeted. 

Scholes faced a backlash on social media for bringing up Woods' past substance abuse while the extent of Woods' injuries were still unclear

Scholes faced a backlash on social media for bringing up Woods' past substance abuse while the extent of Woods' injuries were still unclear

'Just not the time or place. Particularly now, when false information spreads like wild fire,' wrote another.  

Another person agreed: 'Didn't seem fair, in these early hours, for you to bring up 'pain pills' as the very first thing you 'thought of' when you heard about Tiger.'

Following the uproar, Scholes backpedaled on his comments, responding to several of the tweets with an apology.

'Sorry didn't mean for it to come out that way,' he wrote to several social media users. 

'Completely agree. Again sorry for the way that came out,' he replied to one person. 

DailyMail.com has reached out to CNN for comment. 

The cause of Tuesday's crash remains under investigation but authorities have said there was no immediate signs of 'impairment.'

Deputy Carlos Gonzalez of the LA County Sheriff's Department said he 'didn't see any evidence of impairment' and that Woods did not seem obviously under the influence when he was first to arrive on the scene.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva doubled down on this in a press briefing Tuesday saying: 'There was no evidence of impairment. There was no effort to draw blood or anything like that.'

He added that the car was traveling at 'a greater speed than normal' but said the location of the crash is a known black spot for vehicular accidents. 

'[The vehicle] crossed the center divider, to the point that it rested several hundred feet away so obviously that indicates they were going at a relatively - a greater speed than normal,' he said. 

Following the uproar, Scholes backpedaled on his comments, responding to several of the tweets with an apology

Following the uproar, Scholes backpedaled on his comments, responding to several of the tweets with an apology

'However, because it is downhill, it slopes and it also curves. That area has a high frequency of accidents. It’s not uncommon.' 

The LA Sheriff's Department does not take blood tests at the scene of accidents but investigators will test whether the golf star had drugs or alcohol in his system as a matter of routine.  

Woods was infamously arrested for a DUI near his home in Palm Beach County, Florida, back in 2017.   

The golf star, who had undergone spinal fusion surgery just weeks earlier in a bid to save his sports career, was found slumped asleep at the wheel of his car. 

It later emerged Woods had five prescription drugs in his system at the time: Hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication; Hydromorphone, another painkiller; Alprazolam, an anxiety drug; Zolpidem, a sleep drug; and Delta-9 carboxy THC, which is found in marijuana.

Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and spent 11 months on probation. He entered rehab for painkiller addiction. 

A barefoot Tiger Woods is seen disorientated and struggling to walk in dramatic dash cam footage taken at the scene of his 2017 DUI arrest in Florida. Woods was taking pain medication after one of his five back surgeries at the time

A barefoot Tiger Woods is seen disorientated and struggling to walk in dramatic dash cam footage taken at the scene of his 2017 DUI arrest in Florida. Woods was taking pain medication after one of his five back surgeries at the time

Tiger Woods during the trophy ceremony on the practice green after the final round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday February 21

Tiger Woods during the trophy ceremony on the practice green after the final round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Sunday February 21

The golf star was also involved in a late-night car crash in 2009. 

Woods crashed his car into a row of hedges and a fire hydrant before coming to rest when it struck a tree after he was chased from his Florida home by then-wife Elin Nordegren who had learned of his affair with Rachel Uchitel.

The Florida Highway Patrol said at the time that alcohol was not considered a factor in the accident but the crash and surrounding infidelity scandals damaged his reputation.  

Woods' battle with painkiller addiction came amid a career plagued by injuries with the star's latest bout of surgery Tuesday marking at least the 10th major operation he has undergone over the years. 

Back in 2008 he famously won the US Open despite playing with two stress fractures and a torn ligament in his left leg, which required surgery the day after his win.

Continuing problems with his leg and damage to his elbow forced him to take several breaks from golf over the next few years, until he began suffering back problems in August 2013. 

While Woods played through the pain for months, he eventually ruled himself out of The Masters in 2014 - the first time in his career that he had missed the tournament - so he could have surgery on a trapped nerve.

Despite the operation, Woods' problems persisted and in September the following year he went for more surgery - followed rapidly by another operation in October which left him facing a 'long and tedious' recovery. 

The badly-damaged vehicle, with its airbags inflated, was winched away on Tuesday afternoon

The badly-damaged vehicle, with its airbags inflated, was winched away on Tuesday afternoon

Tiger Woods is awake and recovering in hospital. Pictured his wrecked SUV Tuesday

Tiger Woods is awake and recovering in hospital. Pictured his wrecked SUV Tuesday

A straight line cut across the windscreen showed where first responders had sliced open the car to free Woods

A straight line cut across the windscreen showed where first responders had sliced open the car to free Woods

Tiger Woods' team issued a statement on Twitter around 9:30pm local time in California on Tuesday night detailing his injuries and treatment

Tiger Woods' team issued a statement on Twitter around 9:30pm local time in California on Tuesday night detailing his injuries and treatment


In April the following year he underwent yet more surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine together which left him on painkillers which eventually led to him being found slumped over the wheel of his car in 2017.

Overcoming doubts that he would ever be able to swing a club again, Woods battled to return to professional golf and made his first appearance at the Hero World Challenge in December 2018.

Against all the odds, he then went on to win his 15th major title at The Masters the following April in one of the greatest comebacks in sport.

But his injury problems persisted, and in August he had to undergo surgery to repair damage to his elbow. 

In March 2020 he was forced to sit out the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship with back issues.

In December last year he quietly underwent another procedure on his back, which was announced to the public in January this year.

Just two days before Tuesday's crash, Woods spoke of his hopes of competing in The Masters in April.

But his sports career is now in jeopardy as the golf star has had rods, screws and pins inserted into his leg, foot and ankle.

The medical team at the Harbor-UCLA hospital has described the golf star's injuries as 'serious' and has not said whether Woods will ever be able to play golf again.

Woods was driving alone to meet NFL stars Drew Bees and Justin Herbert at a golf club where they were due to film for GolfTV when he rolled his Genesis GV80 at 7.12am on Tuesday morning.

The crash happened less than 15 minutes after he was seen speeding out of the Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes, where witnesses said he seemed 'impatient' and eager to get on the road.

He was on his way to the Rolling Hills Country Club, 10 miles away, for the 7.30am meeting. The drive ordinarily takes around 20 minutes.

Sources told FOX News that he was late leaving the hotel after having to wait longer than expected to get his car from the valet. He was picked up by road cameras driving safely, within the speed limit of 45mph at at 7.05am.

The crash site is a known problem area, according to sheriffs who said on Tuesday they have seen people fly down the road at almost twice that speed. 

The exact spot where he crash is at a point in the road where it widens and is downhill. The sheriffs said people tend to put their foot on the gas prematurely without factoring in that their speed will naturally increase. 

Woods plowed through the central reservation in the road, rolled several times and ended up on a grassy verge on the other side.

He shattered his right leg and had to be pulled from the wreckage by firefighters. 

In a statement on Woods' Twitter Tuesday night, doctors at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said the 45-year-old suffered 'comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones' in the crash - meaning his shin and calf bones splintered into more than two pieces each and were left sticking through the skin.

He also sustained 'additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle', his doctors said, which had to be stabilized with screws and pins.

Woods was awake and recovering that night with his girlfriend Erica Herman and agent Mark Steinberg by his bedside. 

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