Tiger Woods suffered “multiple leg injuries” in a serious car crash Tuesday morning and underwent surgery after being removed from his overturned car and taken to hospital, his agent and authorities said.
Mark Steinberg, Woods’ longtime agent, said in a statement around noon Pacific Time that he was “currently in surgery.”
Steinberg added, “We thank you for your privacy and support.”
The crash happened around 7:12 a.m. Tuesday near the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal town of about 42,000 residents in Los Angeles County. Woods’ vehicle was driving north on Hawthorne Boulevard in Blackhorse Road when it rolled over and crashed, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Woods suffered “compound fractures,” according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. Official said Woods was driving a Hyundai Genesis SUV
“The vehicle sustained significant damage,” the department said.
Footage from the crash scene broadcast on local television on Tuesday afternoon showed an SUV turned on its side in an open, grassy area with extensive damage to the front of the vehicle.
The sheriff’s office said Woods was removed from the vehicle with a hydraulic spreader known as the “jaws of life,” but a Los Angeles County fire official told a local TV station. that the tools had not been used to extract Woods.
It was not immediately clear what led to the crash. The incident is under investigation by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Lomita Station.
Woods, 45, has not played competitively since December and underwent his fifth back surgery in January, a procedure called microdiscectomy, to remove a fragment of a pressurized disc that was pinching a nerve. Last weekend he hosted a PGA Tour event in Southern California, the Genesis Invitational.
Asked when broadcasting this tournament, Woods said he had started training and seemed comfortable, smiling and joking with CBS announcers about his progress since the operation. But he offered no timetable for his return to competitive golf.
He only said he hoped to resume play through the Masters Tournament, which takes place the first full week of April.
At an event at the Rolling Hills Country Club near Los Angeles on Monday, images on social media showed Woods happily interacting with various celebrities, including NBA player Dwyane Wade. During the function, Woods gave players golfing advice and limited instruction, but did not swing a golf club.
The Masters, the legendary tournament Tiger Woods has conquered five times, is less than seven weeks away. But even before Tuesday’s sinking, it was far from clear whether Woods, who was recovering from yet another back surgery, would be able to play at Augusta National Golf Club this year.
Asked CBS on Sunday if he would compete in Georgia in April, Woods replied, “God, I hope so. I have to get there first.
Woods announced on Jan.19 that doctors removed a fragment of a pressurized disc during his fifth back surgery. The procedure, a microdiscectomy, was familiar ground for Woods. He had undergone the procedure several times in recent years, but said he would miss at least two tournaments.
The Masters, however, have remained central to Woods’ schedule. On Sunday, he said he “felt fine, a little stiff” and was waiting for another MRI to assess his progress.
In the meantime, he said, he was “still doing the mundane things you need to do for rehab, the little things before you can start to turn to something a little more.
Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that he was aware of the crash. “We are awaiting further information when he comes out of surgery,” Monahan said. “On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.
Woods was tied for 38th place in November, when the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters was played. Although he shot a 10 at hole 12 in the final round, he birdied five of the last six holes.
“No matter how hard I try, things just don’t work the way they used to, and no matter how much I push and ask this body, it doesn’t work sometimes,” Woods said after that round.
Speaking this week, Woods admitted that surgeons might have more ways to help him: “It’s the only one I have. I don’t have much more leeway there.
Tiger Woods was once the victim of a high-profile car crash.
In November 2009, Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant outside his Florida home in the middle of the night. He was knocked out in the crash and taken to hospital in an ambulance, where he was treated for minor facial injuries. But the incident is mostly remembered for what happened next and the fallout for his career. There were numerous reports of Woods’ infidelities and apologies in which he admitted to cheating on his wife. He lost many sponsors and stayed away from golf for months. Woods and Elin Nordegren eventually divorced.
Woods was also arrested in 2017 in Florida, after police found him asleep in his car on the side of a road at 3 a.m. with the engine running. Woods blamed the incident on the interaction of several prescription drugs, including Vicodin, and had no alcohol in his system. He eventually entered a diversion program for new DUI offenders and pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
Justin Thomas, a trusted confidant of Tiger Woods who frequently joins Woods for pre-tournament practice sessions, appeared stunned by the news of Woods’ accident on Tuesday.
“My stomach hurts,” Thomas said as he prepared for the Workday Championship, a PGA Tour event in Central Florida which kicks off Thursday. “It hurts to see one of your closest friends have an accident.”
Thomas said he heard about the Woods accident minutes earlier.
“Dude, I just hope he’s okay,” he said. “I’m just worried about his kids, I’m sure they’re struggling.
Thomas and his father, Mike, were paired with Woods and his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship, a father and son tournament in December. Woods also has a daughter, Sam.
Not even two years ago, Tiger Woods pulled off a feat that people have long wondered about: he shattered his ten-year drought in the big leagues with a moving Masters victory.
This Sunday in April 2019, it had been a decade of misery for Woods. His body, then 43 years old, was showing pain and wear. A November 2009 wreck turned Woods and his marriage, which ended shortly after, into tabloid fodder. He was later charged with driving under the influence and struggled to control the pain that accompanied one operation after another.
His fifth green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club, won by a one-stroke victory in 2019, was a particularly big comeback for a player who had long been lionized. He was the second oldest player to win the Masters, the tournament where he was the first major champion in 1997.
He did not fare as well at other majors this year, missing the cup at the PGA Championship and British Open, despite finishing 21st at the US Open at Pebble Beach. But for Woods, what happened in Augusta remained a personal triumph with few or no rivals.
“I still have chills just thinking about it,” Woods said in November 2020, when the Masters was last played due to the pandemic. At the traditional Masters Champions Week dinner, held behind closed doors and limited to the president of Augusta National and former tournament winners, Woods was equally moved.
“He said he was on his way to the golf course, and he had to stop because he had tears in his eyes and take a break for a little while on the road because a lot of memories crossed his mind very quickly, ”said Gary Joueur, three-time Masters winner.
“Tiger was very emotional,” added Jack Nicklaus, who won the Masters six times. “I’ve never seen Tiger this way.”