Tiger Woods was seriously injured and hospitalized Tuesday morning after being involved in a car crash near Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. He had to be extracted from his sports-utility vehicle as it sustained major damage following a single-vehicle rollover traffic accident, per the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Woods, 45, completed surgery Tuesday night. The 15-time major winner underwent "a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle" at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and is "awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room," according to a press release from his team.
"Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center," explained Dr. Anish Mahajan, the center's chief medical officer and interim CEO.
"Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling."
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, initially said his client suffered multiple leg injuries. Reports from the Los Angeles Times and ESPN indicated that Woods injured both legs. It is unknown whether additional surgeries are in his future.
His injuries were not determined to be life-threatening at the crash site. Woods was conscious, calm and lucid when paramedics arrived on the scene. Paramedics considered him to be in serious but stable condition with a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department representative saying Woods was "lucky to be alive," crediting his vehicle (a 2021 Genesis SUV) and decision to wear a seatbelt.
The SUV's only occupant, Woods was extricated by paramedics through the windshield of the vehicle, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. There was no evidence of driver impairment, and on Wednesday Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva said there would be no charges filed against Woods. He added that he was not drunk and that the crash was "purely an accident." On Tuesday, the sheriff's department said that there were no skid marks and no evidence that Tiger applied the brakes of his vehicle.
Woods was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance to be treated for his injuries. LAFD chief Daryl Osby explained that Woods' transportation to a trauma center rather than a local hospital indicated that his injuries were severe but his condition was not critical.
Woods was reportedly "traveling at a high rate of speed" when he "lost control of the vehicle before crossing the center divider" with his SUV rolling multiple times, law enforcement sources told the Times. The LASD did not confirm that description of the crash but did note the area has a high rate of car accidents because vehicles are traveling downhill on a steep curve. The crash, which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. PT, is under investigation by the LASD.
Helicopter footage of the crash scene from KCBS-TV showed an SUV lying on its side in a ditch at the bottom of a hill with heavy damage sustained by its front end. Numerous pieces of the vehicle were in the nearby area. Airbags deployed but the cabin inside the SUV was relatively unaffected, according to the LASD.
Woods spent the weekend in Southern California as he was host at the 2021 Genesis Invitational, which is sponsored by his foundation. He spent time on Monday with former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade giving lessons for a Golf Digest show. Wade posted a short video on his Instagram with Woods after the round in good spirits.
The 15-time major champion with 82 career PGA Tour wins has been recovering from a fifth surgery on his back with hopes of playing professionally later this year. He told CBS Sports' Jim Nantz on Sunday during the Genesis Invitational that he hoped to play in the 2021 Masters this April if cleared by doctors.
Woods last played on Dec. 20, 2020 at the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida.
Athletes and celebrities have spent the majority of Tuesday sending Woods well wishes on social media.
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