Tiger Woods lucky to be alive as golf icon ‘awake and responsive’ in hospital after serious car crash in Los Angeles
Tiger Woods is “awake and responsive” in hospital after undergoing surgery on “significant” leg injuries following a car crash.
The golf icon was travelling alone in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning when his vehicle hit a curb, a tree, and rolled over several times at high speed.
Woods, 45, had to be cut from the wreckage and was taken straight to the Harbor UCLA Medical Centre, where he underwent surgery on his right leg.
He is lucky to be alive, according to local police.
A statement from Woods’ official Twitter account on Wednesday morning gave an update on the 15-time major winner’s status following the accident.
“We thank everyone for the overwhelming support and messages during this tough time,” the statement read.
“As previously communicated Tiger was involved in a single-car accident early this morning in California.
“He has undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital.
“He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference that ‘deputies at the time did not see any evidence of impairment’ after arriving on the scene of the crash at 7.18am.
The interior of his Genesis GV80 ‘gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would have been a fatal crash’, according to Villanueva.
Carlos Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy who first arrived at the scene, also said it was ‘fortunate Woods was able to come out of this alive’.
He revealed Woods was not able to stand on his own, but was ‘lucid and calm’ as help arrived.
Fire crews had to extricate Woods from the vehicle using an axe.
Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer and interim CEO at the Harbor UCLA Medical Centre where Woods is being treated, said: “Mr Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center.
“Comminuted open fractures affecting the upper and lower of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilised by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilised 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, a 15-time major winner, is one of the greatest golfers of all-time and one of the most iconic figures in sporting history.
He dominated the world of golf for more than a decade between the late nineties and early 2010s, before public scandal and physical problems saw him struggle for numerous years.
Woofs is the youngest player ever to complete the career Grand Slam of majors and famously did the ‘Tiger Slam’ across 2000 and 2001, winning all four majors in a row.
His most recent triumph at the 2019 Masters came after years of crippling back injuries and spinal fusion surgery, sparking fresh hope that he could chase down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.
The American has been out injured following further back surgery in December – and was hopeful of returning for this year’s Masters in April.
Woods’ last appearance on the course came alongside his son Charlie at the PNC Championship at the end of 2020.
He hosted the Genesis Open at Riviera last weekend, handing Max Homa the trophy and commentating alongside Jim Nantz on Sunday, but did not compete.
Speaking at the weekend, Woods said he hoped to be able to contest the Masters in April following a microdiscectomy to relieve a pressurised disc fragment in January.
Asked if he would be at Augusta National, Woods said: “God, I hope so.”
Tiger Woods’ major victories
Masters: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019
PGA Championship: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007
U.S. Open: 2000, 2002, 2008
The Open Championship: 2000, 2005, 2006
The world of golf has been reacting to the news, offering prayers and best wishes for Woods as he undergoes surgery.
Nicklaus, whose record of 18 major titles has been one of Woods’ biggest goals, wrote on Twitter: “Barbara and I just heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everyone else, we are deeply concerned.
“We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time. Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery.”
Former world number one Greg Norman wrote on Instagram: “He has mental strength stronger than most and has fought many battles and won many of them.
“His mental strength will win this battle. Prayers and thoughts to TigerWoods and his family.”
World No. 3 Justin Thomas, who has become close friends with Woods and his family, got emotional while reacting to the news.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Thomas said, speaking at a press conference ahead of the WGC-Workday Championship.
“You know, it hurts to see one of your… now one of my 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.”
British golfer Ian Poulter, former England international Gary Lineker and Tottenham forward Gareth Bale were also among the well-wishers on social media.
Former United States alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, a former girlfriend of Woods, also tweeted: “Praying for TW right now.”