Tiger Woods suffered multiple leg injuries and underwent emergency surgery after a single-vehicle rollover accident early Tuesday morning near Los Angeles.
Woods was the lone occupant in the car, and Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics extracted Woods with the help of a crowbar and axe. He was then transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in serious condition, and Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, said the 45-year-old underwent surgery for multiple leg injuries.
According to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Woods was driving northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard before his car made contact with the median strip near Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates, crossed into the opposing lane of traffic and hit a tree before rolling over multiple times.
Authorities received an emergency call from a neighbor at 7:12 a.m. PT.
The vehicle suffered “major damage” in the accident, the sheriff’s department announced.
Footage from a KABC-TV helicopter showed Woods’ car resting on its side with its front and rear end severely smashed. The airbags appeared to be deployed and parts of the car were strewn about the scene.
“The time it made, it crossed the center divider to the point that it rested was several hundred feet away, so obviously that indicates they were going at a relatively greater speed than normal,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “However, because it is downhill, it slopes, and also the curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents. This is not uncommon.”
Villanueva said there is no evidence of impairment, but the crash is still under investigation. Woods was conscious when authorities arrived on the scene and communicated with first responders.
Woods, an 82-time PGA Tour winner, most recently competed with his 11-year-old son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship in Orlando in late December.
Woods underwent his fifth back surgery shortly after that tournament to ease nerve pain, using the same microdiscectomy procedure he had in 2014 and twice in 2015. Woods also underwent a spinal fusion in 2017. Woods was in Los Angeles hosting the Genesis Invitational, although he didn’t compete as he continued his recovery.
In an interview with Jim Nantz on Sunday, Woods said he lengthened his putter — “I don’t have to bend over as far,” Woods said — but admitted he hadn’t done much else on the course up to that point. When asked if he could compete at the Masters in April, Woods said, “God, I hope so. I got to get there first.”
According to Golf Digest, Woods was scheduled to shoot the second day of a Golf Digest/GOLFTV program in which he gives on-course lessons to celebrities. He never arrived at the course for Tuesday’s shooting.
The news of Woods’ accident sent shockwaves through the golf community Tuesday.
“Tiger Woods is part of the Augusta National family, and the news of his accident is upsetting to all of us,” Masters chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement. “We pray for him, for his full recovery and for his family during this difficult time.”
At a press conference ahead of the WGC-Workday Championship this week, Justin Thomas began to tear up when speaking of Woods.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Thomas said (via Golfweek). “You know, it hurts to see one of your — now one of my 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.”
And Justin Rose directed a tweet to Woods, writing: “We know how tough you are, we’ve seen it a hundred times. Hoping and praying you’re ok my friend.”
Former President Donald Trump, who awarded Woods the Medal of Freedom after the golfer won his fifth Masters in 2019, issued a statement through his spokesperson wishing Woods well.
“Get well soon, Tiger,” Trump’s statement read. “You are a true champion!”
Woods dominated golf for the better part of a decade, winning 14 major championships between 1997 and 2008. He is the leader in all-time career earnings with $120,851,706, and his 82 PGA Tour victories is tied with Sam Snead for the most in history.
Woods’ career was sidetracked in 2009, though, when he crashed his SUV into a tree. Soon after it was revealed Woods had been cheating on his wife with multiple women, and he lost sponsors and checked into a rehabilitation facility. He didn’t golf for five months.
Then in 2017, Woods was arrested on a DUI charge in Florida. He later blamed an “unexpected reaction” to prescription drugs he was taking for pain from his most recent back surgery. Woods pled guilty for reckless driving and entered a diversion program.
Woods has also dealt with myriad injuries through his career.
Besides his five back surgeries, he has also undergone several knee surgeries and has managed neck pain through the years.
Still, Woods came back to win his 15th major in 2019 at the Masters.
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