Golf star Tiger Woods seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV rolled over and ended up on its side in suburban Los Angeles, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery.
Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7.15am, crossing two oncoming lanes and rolling over several times, authorities said at a news conference.
No other cars were involved. Woods was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out.
The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
Both of his legs were severely injured, said county Fire Chief Daryl Osby.
Woods was admitted to hospital in serious condition.
“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries,” said his manager, Mark Steinberg.
"He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”
Authorities said there was no immediate evidence that Woods's driving was impaired.
They said they had checked for any odour of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving.
A KABC-TV helicopter over the scene of the accident showed a car on its side with the front end heavily damaged.
The cause of the wreck has not been made clear, though it was confirmed weather was not a factor. The two-lane road curves through upscale Los Angeles suburbs, and the north-bound side on which Woods was driving descends steeply enough that signs warn trucks to use lower gears. The speed limit in the area is around 72 kilometres per hour.
Woods was in another car accident in 2009, when he hit a fire hydrant and then crashed into a tree in Florida.
That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with several women.
Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months.
He has since recovered from injuries sustained in that crash and competed in several tournaments.
In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road.
He was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence and said later he had an unexpected reaction to medicine prescribed for back pain.
Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic for help managing prescription medication and a sleep disorder.
He was most recently seen at the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, also in California, on February 21.
Reports say he was also busy in the Los Angeles area filming with GolfTV on Monday and Tuesday.
The 15-time majors champion last played on December 20 in the PNC Championship with his son Charlie, age 11.
Woods had a fifth operation on his back, a microdiscectomy, two days before Christmas and gave no indication when he would return to the green.
The US Masters will take place from April 8 to 11.
When asked by CBS if he would be there, Woods replied: "God, I hope so."