Paul Azinger: Tiger Woods could be addicted to pain killers

We know talking heads on T.V., in their ever-desperate attempt to grab eyes and ears, will offer up some pretty outrageous takes. Paul Azinger’s remarks about Tiger Woods and his painkiller use don’t fall into that category.

A former Ryder Cup captain and analyst, Azinger doesn’t have a reputation as say, Brandel Chamblee. Rather, he’s known for his blunt honesty. So when Azinger says something like what he said on Colin Cowherd’s “The Herd,” it’s worth taking notice.

“I know firsthand there are some players that think there’s a problem there with Tiger…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.”

Some players on the PGA Tour think Tiger Woods has a problem with painkillers. Azinger thinks this opinion is prevalent enough and credible enough to insert it into the public sphere with his name attached to it.

Could they be wrong? Of course, but if a portion of Tiger Woods’ peers think he’s addicted to Vicodin, etc, that’s a pretty significant story. And it’s worth noting that the PGA Tour isn’t exactly a “kiss and tell” organization full of gossip hounds. If players are talking, it’s because they’re concerned.

Let’s remember the official story regarding Tiger Woods early morning May 29 arrest, in which he blew .000 into a Breathalyzer twice but was obviously profoundly impaired behind the wheel. Woods and company claimed the golfer was experiencing an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medication.”

Could that be true? Was Woods experiencing interactions between drugs he hadn’t taken before? Had he upped a dosage? Had he accidentally double-dosed? The prescriptions the former world No. 1 was/is taking are stronger than Children’s Tylenol and aren’t without their share of side effects. You’d have to ask a doctor or pharmacist, but Woods explanation seems within the realm of possibility.

But that doesn’t mean that Azinger or those on Tour (particularly those close to Woods) are putting much weight behind it.

“Tiger’s close to a few people,” Azinger said. “Not many. And the few people that are around Tiger probably know there’s a problem. 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.”

Did you catch that? “The few people that are around Tiger probably know there’s a problem.” While Azinger could be entirely wrong, and Woods’ peers’ opinions may be more speculative than Azinger suggests, it’s pretty significant if, you know, players on the PGA Tour think Tiger Woods is a drug addict.

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