Posted 2 hours ago, updated 12 minutes ago
Golfer Tiger Woods has been seriously hurt in a single-vehicle car accident and is in hospital undergoing emergency surgery.
- Woods’s vehicle sustained major damage, according to police
- The wreckage appeared to be just off the side of a road on a hillside
- This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car-related investigation
The 15-time major tournament winner’s manager Mark Steinberg said the golf star suffered multiple leg injuries in the crash.
“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support,” Mr Steinberg said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the vehicle sustained major damage and Woods was removed from the wreck with the jaws of life by firefighters and paramedics.
He was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Footage from a KABC-TV local television helicopter flying over the scene of the accident showed a car on its side with the front end heavily damaged.
Air bags appeared to have deployed.
The wreckage appeared to be just off the side of a road on a hillside.
Woods, whose first name is Eldrick, was the sole occupant of the vehicle, the sheriff’s department said.
The crash occurred shortly before 7:15am Tuesday (local time), officials said.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, where he presented the trophy.
He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement contract.
Troubled history of car incidents
Woods last played on December 20 in the PNC Championship with his 11-year-old son, Charlie.
He had a fifth surgery on his back, a microdiscectomy, two days before Christmas and gave no indication when he would return to competition.
This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car incident.
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 revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women.
Woods lost major corporate sponsorship, 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 later said he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain.
Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.
Accident shocks sports world
News of the accident sent shockwaves through the sports community.
“Praying for my brother @TigerWoods as we all anxiously await more news,” former baseball star Alex Rodriguez said on Twitter.
“Thinking of him and his entire family.”
“I am sick to my stomach,” fellow PGA Tour golfer Justin Thomas said during a news conference where he called Woods one of his closest friends.
“I just hope he’s alright.”
One of those closest to Tiger, Justin Thomas hits on the main points here.
A) Tiger’s health & B) Sam & Charlie.
We all pray for a positive outcome 🙏🏼pic.twitter.com/jLvzBc7CG5— Luke Elvy (@Luke_Elvy) February 23, 2021
The PGA Tour issued a statement from Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“We have been made aware of Tiger Woods’s car accident today,” it said.
“We are awaiting further information when he comes out of surgery. On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”
Former US president Donald Trump issued a statement urging Woods to get well soon, adding: “You are a true champion!”
Mr Trump awarded Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 after Woods claimed his 15th major title at the Master’s tournament that same year.
Mr Trump tweeted at the time that he was awarding Woods the medal because of his “incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE”.
But the decision raised a few eyebrows as Woods had been a business associate of the Trump Organisation for years.
Woods has held the top spot in professional golf’s world rankings for a record total of 683 weeks, winning 14 major championship titles between 1997 and 2008, despite a series of injuries and personal issues derailing his career at times.
Woods turned professional in 1996 and won his first US Tour title in only his fifth start. Since then, he has virtually redefined the game.
His success transformed him into a worldwide superstar ushering in an era of multi-million-dollar endorsements and spurred a new interest in golf far beyond its traditional audience.