When Tiger Woods was arrested and charged with driving under the influence early Monday morning, he was given the “Romberg Alphabet,” according to the police report.
The inclusion in the police report, obtained by TMZ, caused a stir because, according to police, when Woods was asked if he understood the directions, he said, “not to recite the entire national anthem backwards.”
According to the report, after being read the directions again, Woods was able to pass the test.
The detail caused some confusion as many wondered how Woods would recite the alphabet backwards. However, the Romberg Alphabet, contrary to public perception, does not require a person to recite the alphabet backwards. Instead, as attorney Mark Hulsey IV of Ludwig and Associates explained to the Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Simmons, the Romberg Alphabet is a simpler task.
“The Romberg Alphabet test during a DUI investigation, administered often in Florida, is to state the alphabet forwards, not backwards, and to do so without singing or using voice inflections/rhyming. It is a non-standard test and despite a large public misconception, is not asked to be recited backwards.”
Sometimes, as Simmons notes, a driver may be asked to recite the alphabet starting from a letter other than A.
Here’s the police report on Woods being asked to do the Romberg Alphabet:
“During the Romberg Alphabet instruction phase Woods was swaying front to back. Woods was asked if he knew the entire English Alphabet from A-Z to which he stated he did … After finishing the instructions, Woods was asked if he understood the instructions to which he stated he did. Woods was asked what the instructions were, to which he stated “not to sing the national anthem backwards” to which I repeated it to ensure that I heard Woods correctly. Woods was then again read the instructions to which he stated he understood and said to repeat A-Z making sure he gets each one correct. Woods began to walk off and seemed as if he was lost. Woods asked what we were doing to which I again repeated the instructions. Woods correctly recited the alphabet.”
According to the report, Woods was given the Standard Field Sobriety Test, which includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, which asks drivers to follow a moving light with their eyes; the walk-and-turn test, which asks drivers to walk heel-to-toe along a straight line; and the one-leg stand, which asks drivers to hold one leg six inches off the ground while counting aloud.
Woods was also asked to put his finger to his nose, which tests response time and ability to follow instructions, took a breathalyzer (he blew a 0.00), and a urine test.
After his arrest, Woods released a statement saying he had “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications” and that alcohol was not involved.