What is it about Tiger Woods and cars in the dead of night?

If his crash into that fire hydrant in 2009 led to his downfall as an icon, then, who knows, perhaps his charge of driving under the influence will finally spell the end of his career as a professional golfer.

"Rock bottom" was the first phrase which sprang to mind when hearing of the 41-year-old's arrest and then seeing that awful, bloated mugshot of him released by Palm Beach County jail.

It is hard to reconcile the broken figure in the photo with the red-shirted superhero who burst into our sporting and, yes, social consciousness with such vibrancy and certainty two decades ago.


How can this be the same person who refused to observe the boundaries of this white man's sport and promised a new, inclusive future?

The cruel cynics are already feasting on that sorrowful countenance and harking back in joy to the statement on his website last week. It is, indeed, a quite glorious irony. "I haven't felt this good in years," Woods had declared, talking about his latest surgery. Presumably, as he lay in that Florida cell yesterday, Woods had not felt that low in years. Not since the emergence of the sex scandal which devastated his life.

After going some way to rebuilding his reputation by stressing his role as the divorced but dedicated father to two young children, and with the occasional acknowledgement that he had tried to fix a deeply flawed personality, this will put Woods back to square one on the infamy chart.

Woods will be dreading the fallout, dreading facing the press, dreading hearing the catcalls from the galleries. The prospect of all that scorn really might convince him to hang up his spikes for good. Yet with Tiger, nothing has ever been guaranteed.

Except, the truth is, many had believed he was finished anyway. Woods has not won in four years because of his back problem, which has required four operations in two years. He is 41. He has played only 54 competitive holes so far this year and is not expected to play any more. Yet until this moment, at least there had been a little hope, albeit most of it provided by his own assurances.

Following the seemed success of the spinal fusion there was optimism that the 14-time major-winner could resume his chase of Jack Nicklaus's record mark of 18. That pursuit now seems more forlorn than ever.

Where next? There will be no worries on his playing options. The PGA Tour will not do anything. Woods remains synonymous with the circuit's incredible growth. He is still the biggest draw in the game.

It will be intriguing to see how his sponsors react. Nike stuck by him during the last onslaught of ignominy and will do so gain.

Clubmaker TaylorMade - which signed Woods to a multi-year contract in January in the wake of Nike's withdrawal from making clubs - might wonder what a golfer supposedly in rehab from surgery is doing apparently out on the lash. Woods' own words will join in the rush to gang up against him. Last Wednesday he told the world: "I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again. My sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me."

Those comments now look utterly ridiculous and he cannot expect an easy ride. What a sad, wretched conclusion this could be for one of sport's most uplifting legends.

'Arrogant' attitude irks police

Less than a decade ago he was one of the best loved sportsmen in the world with a fortune in excess of $1 billion.

But Tiger Woods' life hit a new low with his arrest in the early hours of yesterday for drink driving.

The world-famous golfer suffered the humiliation of having his dishevelled-looking mugshot released by police - a far cry from the days when he was held up as a role model.

Police sources told gossip website TMZ the 14-time major winner was "arrogant" when an officer smelled alcohol on his breath - and refused to take a breath test.

The 41-year-old was stopped by police in his 2015 Mercedes at about 3am near his Florida home and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, spending nearly four hours in a county jail before being released.

His team have not responded to TMZ's reports that he was driving "erratically" and refused to take a breath test.

The site reported that Woods' entourage spent yesterday repeatedly telephoning the police station to try to find out whether the police had dashcam video footage of the incident.

Woods had yet to comment last night.