A luxury SUV driven by Tiger Woods crashed and rolled over Tuesday morning in southern California, leaving the golf superstar with serious injuries to both legs, authorities and his agent said.
Woods underwent surgery and was in serious condition at Harbor UCLA Hospital on Tuesday afternoon after the single-car crash, authorities said.
Woods, who was the only person in the Genesis GV80 SUV, was trapped in the wreck, which occurred after he hit a center median in the road, and then careened into brush, hitting a tree at just before 7:12 a.m. PT. A neighbor of the crash scene called 911.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was traveling at a “relatively greater speed than normal.”
Woods was extricated by firefighters from the vehicle and then taken to Harbor UCLA, which is a major trauma center.
Villanueva, speaking at a news conference, said deputies who responded to the scene “did not see any evidence of impairment” with Woods.
Because there was no sign of impairment, Villaneuva said, “There was no effort to draw blood at the hospital.”
Woods was conscious at the scene and able to communicate with deputies.
“I spoke to him. I asked him what his name was. He told me his name was Tiger, and at that moment, I immediately recognized him, said Deputy Carlos Gonzalez told reporters.
“It’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said.
The accident scene, located on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes is well known to police, because of the frequency of accidents there, and the tendency by drivers to speed.
The front end of the SUV was destroyed. Woods likely survived the crash because the interior of the SUV remained intact, an official said. The Genesis has 10 air bags.
Woods was wearing a seat belt during the crash, officials said.
They also said there were no skid marks at the scene, and “no sign of braking.”
L.A. County Sheriff’s officers investigate an accident involving golfer Tiger Woods along Hawthorne Blvd. in Rancho Palos Verdes, February 23, 2021.
Wally Skalij | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Woods, 45, was staying at the Rolling Hills resort after hosting The Genesis Invitational tournament last week, and he was filming as part of a deal he has with Golf Digest and Discovery Channel.
His agent Mark Steinberg said in a statement, “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,” Steinberg said.
Last month, Woods revealed he had “recently” undergone a fifth microdisectomy surgery on his back, to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was causing him pain during the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, in December, which was the last time he competed.
He played alongside his 11-year-old son, Charlie, in that tournament. The duo finished seventh.
“I look forward to begin training and am focused on getting back out on Tour,” Woods said in a statement in January.
Tiger Woods looks on from the 18th hole during the final round of The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA on February 21, 2021.
Brian Rothmuller | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
The Jupiter, Florida, resident has won 82 PGA titles, tied with Sam Snead for the most ever. He has won 15 major championships, including the Masters Tournament five times.
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement, “We have been made aware of Tiger Woods’ car accident today. 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,” Monahan said.
Sports apparel giant Nike, which sponsors Woods, said in a statement, “We are following the news around Tiger and our thoughts and heart are with him and his family at this time.”
Woods’ equipment and club sponsor, TaylorMade Gold, said, “We are shocked at the news of Tiger Woods’ accident earlier this morning and are sending our thoughts and prayers to him, his family and his team as they support him through his surgery and recovery.”
Woods’ stellar career was rocked in November 2009 when he crashed an SUV early one morning into a fire hydrant just outside his then-residence in Windermere, Florida.
Woods was knocked unconscious in that crash for more than five minutes, and his then-wife, Elin Nordegren, reportedly used a golf club to smash a window in the vehicle and drag him from it.
On the heels of that mysterious crash, Woods was reported to have had numerous extramarital affairs. He entered a Mississippi clinic for treatment shortly afterward.
In May 2017, Woods was charged with driving under the influence in Florida after police discovered him asleep in a car that was damaged. He later apologized, telling several reporters in a statement that he took full responsibility for the arrest, which he blamed on “an unexpected reaction” to a mix of prescribed medications.
“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved,” Woods said at that time.
“I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too,” Woods said. “I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”
A month after that arrest, Woods entered a clinic for treatment related to issues with prescription pain medication and a sleep disorder.
Steinberg said at the time that Woods used pain medication to help him get up and move while recovering from four back operations.
Top-ranked golfer Justin Thomas choked up Tuesday when speaking about Woods at a press conference.
“I’m sick to my stomach. It hurts to see, now one of my closest friends get in an accident, and I just hope he’s alright,” Thomas told reporters. “I’m just worried for his kids. I’m sure they’re struggling.”
Woods was seen on social media on Monday on a golf course with former Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade.
Actor David Spade on Monday also tweeted a photo of himself with Woods on the course.
On Sunday, during an interview with CBS Sports, Woods was asked if he would play at the Masters tournament in August, Georgia, in April.
“God I hope so,” Woods said.
“I got to get there first. A lot of it is based on my surgeons and my doctors and my therapists and making sure I do it correctly because this is the only back I got so I don’t have much more wiggle room left here.”
— CNBC’s Jessica Golden and Amanda Macias contributed to this report.