Sports

Police say Tiger Woods 'lucky to be alive' after car crash in California


Tiger Woods has been taken to hospital with serious injuries to both legs after a car accident, with a Los Angeles police officer saying the golfer is “very fortunate” to have survived.

Carlos Gonzalez, the first LA county deputy to respond to the scene, added that Woods was “calm and lucid” despite being trapped inside his vehicle. Woods was removed from the crash by firefighters, and his vehicle suffered “major damage”.

Woods was transported to the nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance and underwent surgery for “multiple leg injuries” after the incident early on Tuesday morning. Later reports said that Woods had suffered compound fractures. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

The LA county sheriff’s department had earlier reported a “single vehicle roll-over collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes” at 7.12am local time on Tuesday. Photos of the crash site showed Woods’s badly damaged SUV at the bottom of an embankment in hilly terrain.

Woods had been driving a 2021 Genesis GV80 northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard when he drove over the center median, into the southbound lanes, struck a tree and rolled the vehicle several times, said Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles county sheriff, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Tiger Woods’s badly damaged car after the golfer’s crash on Tuesday
Tiger Woods’s badly damaged car after the golfer’s crash on Tuesday. Photograph: Étienne Laurent/EPA

The crash is still under investigation. Gonzalez noted that this “specific stretch of roadway is one of our trouble spots”. Deputies have often caught motorists speeding here, sometimes at up to 80 miles per hour, which would be nearly double the locally reported speed limit. Gonzalez said Woods was responsive and coherent when he arrived on scene, and was able to tell him his name.

Though his injuries were visible, Woods appeared to be in shock and unconcerned with them, Gonzalez said. “I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve seen fatal traffic collisions,” the deputy added. “It was very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive.”

Woods was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the accident and was conscious when deputies arrived on scene. While the cause of the crash has not yet been determined, Villanueva said Woods’ vehicle was “going at a relatively greater speed” than the posted limit. When asked if Woods was under the influence at the time of the crash, Villanueva said there was “no evidence of impairment at this point in time.”

Authorities previously reported that Woods had to be extricated from the vehicle by the jaws of life, but fire department personnel were able to remove him with the help of an ax and Halligan tool, said Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles county fire chief.

Woods’s manager Mark Steinberg has earlier told Golf Digest that the 45-year-old “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 had been in California to film a TV programme for Discovery and Golf Digest, featuring the former NBA player Dwyane Wade and the actor David Spade. He also attended the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera over the weekend. He has not played competitive golf this year after undergoing back surgery in January.

Timeline

Tiger Woods: golfing great’s highs and lows

Show

Breakthrough major win at Augusta

At the age of 21, Woods wins the first of 15 career majors so far with a 12-stroke win at the Masters. He becomes the youngest golfer and first black professional player to triumph at Augusta

Masters win completes unique slam sweep

Victory at the 2001 Masters means Woods is the first player to hold all four grand slam titles – the Open, Masters, US Open and US PGA – at the same time

Major No 14 amid growing injury concerns

Woods win his 14th major at the 2008 US Open after two play-offs at Torrey Pines, despite being hampered by damaged knee cartilage and two stress fractures in his leg

Personal issues lead to break from golf

Weeks after a bizarre single car accident outside his home in Florida, Woods admits to having cheated on his wife, Elin Nordegren, and announces an indefinite break from playing golf. Woods and Nordegren divorced in 2010.

Playing return dogged by back problems

Woods returns to golf and rises back to world No 1 in 2013, but is forced to miss the Masters a year later in order to have back surgery. After a stalled attempt at a comeback, he does not play again until 2016

Fourth back operation and DUI arrest

Woods pulls out of an event due to back spasms, before undergoing a fourth back surgery in April. One month later, Woods is arrested in Florida and charged with driving under the influence. Woods passed a breath test, and later said his condition was caused by prescribed medication.

Fairytale comeback win at Masters

Less than two years on from his arrest, Woods pulls off one of sport’s great comebacks by winning the Masters. An emotional victory at Augusta earns Woods’ 15th major after an 11-year wait Reuters

Justin Thomas, a fellow major champion and friend of Woods, expressed concern when told about the news on Tuesday. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Thomas said at a press conference for the WGC-Workday Championship. “You know, 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.”

The PGA Tour released a statement shortly after news of the crash broke. “We have been made aware of Tiger Woods’ car accident today,” read the statement. “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.”

LA county deputies gather evidence from Woods’s car after the accident.
LA county deputies gather evidence from Woods’s car after the accident. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

Jack Nicklaus, the 18-time major champion and lone name above Woods on the all-time leaderboard, said he was “deeply concerned” by the news in a statement. “Barbara and I just heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everyone else, we are deeply concerned,” Nicklaus said. “We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.”

In May 2017, Woods was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida after he was discovered passed out in his car. He later pled guilty to reckless driving over the incident, and said his condition was caused by prescribed medications.

Woods was also involved in another crash in 2009 near his home in Florida, which led to news that he had been unfaithful to his then wife, Elin Nordegren. The fallout led to Woods losing sponsors and he took an extended break from golf to address issues in his private life.

The 2017 arrest was seen by many as a turning point for Woods, whose career had slumped since the days when he was one of the most successful athletes on the planet. Less than two years later a rejuvenated Woods won the Masters, his first major championship since the 2008 US Open.

Authorities said that a second car accident occurred nearby while authorities were responding to the Woods crash, most likely a case of someone trying to see what was happening. No one was injured in that crash, Villaneuva said.





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