Tiger Woods was “very fortunate” to have survived a serious car accident in Los Angeles on Tuesday, with the golfer undergoing surgery for “multiple leg injuries”.
The 15-time major champion, 45, was removed from the crash by firefighters through the windshield of his vehicle, with the SUV said to have suffered “major damage".
Woods was transported by ambulance to the nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. The LA Times later reported that Woods’ injuries included a shattered ankle and two leg fractures, one of which was a compound fracture. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.Carlos Gonzalez, the first LA county deputy to respond to the scene, said Woods was “calm and lucid” despite being trapped inside the SUV.
“The nature of his vehicle, the fact that he was wearing his seatbelt, I would say it greatly increased the likelihood it saved his life,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve seen fatal traffic collisions, so I will say it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive.”
The LA county sheriff’s department had reported a “single vehicle rollover collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes” at 7.12am local time.
Woods travelling 'at greater speed'
At a press conference that afternoon, Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles county sheriff, said Woods had been driving northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard when he drove over the centre median into the southbound lanes, struck a tree and rolled the vehicle several times.
While the crash is still under investigation, Villanueva said the Woods' SUV was “going at a relatively greater speed than normal”, although he added that there was “no evidence of impairment at this point in time” when asked if the golf star was under the influence at the time of the crash.
Gonzalo described that stretch of roadway as "one of our trouble spots”. He added that Woods was responsive and coherent when he arrived on scene, and was able to tell him his name.
In a statement, Woods' longtime manager, Mark Steinberg, said: “Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”
Woods, one of the most prominent athletes in sport, had been in California to film a television programme for Discovery and Golf Digest, while he also attended the Genesis Invitational at Riviera on Sunday. The PGA Tour event benefits his charity.
Woods has not played on tour since the Masters in November. He underwent a fifth back surgery on December 23 and had told the CBS broadcast at Riviera that he "hoped" to compete at the Masters in April.
PGA Tour statement
A statement from the PGA Tour, released shortly after news of the crash broke, read: “We have been made aware of Tiger Woods’ car accident today. We are awaiting further information when he comes out of surgery. On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”
A number of the game’s most high-profile names offered their support to Woods, with world No 3 and close friend Justin Thomas telling a press conference for the WGC-Workday Championship on Tuesday afternoon: “I’m sick to my stomach. It hurts to see one of your closest friends get in an accident.
“Man, I just hope he’s all right. Just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”
Woods has two children: daughter Sam, 13, and son Charlie, 12.
He was in another car accident in 2009, when he hit a fire hydrant and then crashed into a tree in Florida. The incident led to news that he had been unfaithful to his then wife, Elin Nordegren, which prompted Woods to lose numerous major sponsors. He took a five-month break from golf to address issues in his private life.
In May 2017, Woods was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida after he was found passed out in his car. He later pled guilty to reckless driving, saying his condition was caused by prescribed medications.