Tiger Woods undergoes surgery for leg injuries suffered in California car crash

Tiger Woods undergoes surgery for leg injuries suffered in California car crash

Tiger Woods was 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 extricated, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery.

Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed shortly before 7:15 a.m. PT, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. No other cars were involved.

The cause of the wreck wasn’t clear. The two-lane road curves through upscale suburbs, and the northbound side that Woods was driving on descends steeply enough that signs warn trucks to use lower gears. The speed limit is 45 mph, a little over 70 km/h.

At a news conference Tuesday, the police chief and fire chief of Los Angeles County said there’s no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired in the crash, but didn’t answer follow-up questions about how they know or about how fast he was driving. Weather was not a factor in the crash, they said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby also say Woods was conscious and able to communicate when authorities arrived to pry him from the car.

WATCH | Woods suffers leg injuries in car crash:

Golfer sustained multiple leg injuries after rollover accident in Los Angeles area and is undergoing surgery, his agent said. 1:11

Images showed the SUV on its side, with its front end heavily damaged, just off the side of a road near a hillside. An ambulance took the 45-year-old Woods to a hospital, authorities said.

“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.”

Barbara Ferraro, a councilwoman in the community of Rancho Palos Verdes, said the road where Woods crashed is not winding like other stretches but it’s steep and not far from a gravel runaway truck lane that was ahead before the next traffic light.

“It’s easy to pick up speed,” Ferraro said. “Even if you’re not speeding, unless you’re actually putting on the brakes, you’ll pick up speed.”

The crash happened on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, two upscale communities about 32 kilometres south of downtown Los Angeles.

There was a second crash when a vehicle that had apparently stopped to help Woods got hit, said Christopher Thomas, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. That wreck was very minor, and no one was hurt.

WATCH | ‘Probably the best player ever’:

Lorne Rubenstein, who co-authored “The 1997 Masters: My Story” with Tiger Woods, reflects on the golfer and the man. 12:32

Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade.

According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club.

5th back surgery in December

Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019.

He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport.

The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event.

Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time.

He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Fla., an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter.

During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities.

He was not sure when he would play again.

Athletes including Mike Tyson and Magic Johnson offered hopes Woods would make a quick recovery.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Fla. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.”

Woods has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back; his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months.

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 DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.

Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and the five surgeries on his back.

Published at Tue, 23 Feb 2021 20:00:32 +0000