Tiger Woods underwent emergency surgery Tuesday after sustaining serious injuries in a rollover accident in Los Angeles. Woods, the 45-year-old golf legend, was the only person in the vehicle who suffered “significant damage” in the accident, authorities said.
Woods is awake, responsive and recovering from a “lengthy surgical procedure” on his lower right leg and ankle, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account early Wednesday. “We thank everyone for the support and overwhelming messages during this difficult time.”
Deputies responded to the scene at 7:12 a.m. local time Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. His SUV hurtled down a hill, traveling several hundred feet, somersaulting several times before landing on a hillside in a Los Angeles suburb.
Woods was trapped inside, forcing first responders to use tools to open the windshield and get Woods out, local officials said. The beloved golfer was transferred to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he required emergency surgery.
“Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower limb that were treated during emergency surgery,” said Dr. Anish Mahajan, medical director and acting chief executive officer of the hospital.
Woods’ SUV, a 2021 Genesis GV80, was the only vehicle involved in the accident. Photos and video from the scene showed significant damage to the front of the vehicle. The golf clubs and other personal items were removed from the scene and a tow truck later removed the wrinkled truck.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said there were no initial signs that Woods was affected. The interior of the truck remained intact, giving Woods the cushion to survive, Villanueva said, adding that the investigation could take weeks.
Congressman Carlos González, who responded to the scene, said Woods was calm but could not support himself. “I asked him what his name was, he told me his name was Tigre and at that moment I recognized him immediately,” González told reporters. “It seemed like he was lucid and calm.”
Gonzalez said Woods was wearing his seatbelt, which “greatly increased” his chances of survival. The deputy described the section of the highway as a “problem area” due to speeding and accidents. “It was very fortunate that Mr. Woods came out of this alive,” he said.
Woods, a Florida resident, was in Los Angeles to host his annual golf tournament, the Genesis Invitational. He spent the last two days filming with Discovery’s Golf TV with comedian David Spade and former NBA player Dwyane Wade, who posted a video of their meeting.
Woods, considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, has 82 victories on the PGA Tour, including 15 major championships. He has been recovering from back surgery and has not played since the PNC Championship in December.
On February 16, Woods said he was still rehabbing after the procedure, but did not confirm if he would play at the Masters in April. “I feel good, I feel good. I’m a little stiff,” Woods said last week. “Still in the gym, still doing the mundane things you have to do for rehab.”
“Barbara and I have just learned of Tiger’s accident and, like everyone else, we are deeply concerned”, Nickalus tweeted Tuesday. “We want to offer our sincere support and prayers during this difficult time. Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery.
“I just saw the terrible news,” said golfer Justin Rose. tweeted. “We know how tough you are, we’ve seen it hundreds of times. Hoping and praying you’re okay, buddy.”
This is the third automobile incident involving the Major League Baseball champion. In 2009, his vehicle collided with a tree. Soon after, revelations about the infidelity emerged, costing Woods sponsorships and leading him to rehab. In 2017, Woods was arrested and charged with DUI when Florida police found him passed out behind the wheel of a parked car.
Two years later, Woods made a remarkable return to greatness, winning the Masters for the. “I had serious doubts after what happened a couple of years ago,” Woods said at the time. “I was lucky to have another opportunity to do something that I love.”