LOS ANGELES— Golf star Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side near a steep road in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said.
Woods had multiple “open fractures” to his lower right leg; a rod placed in his tibia, as well as screws and pins in ankle, according to a statement from his surgeon, Dr. Anish Mahajan.
“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,” said Dr. Mahajan, Chief Medical Officer & Interim CEO at the center. “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.”
A statement from the golfer’s family continued that Woods is “currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room. Thank you to the wonderful doctors and hospital staff at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Fire Department. Your support and assistance has been outstanding. There are no further updates at this time and we continue to thank you for your well-wishes and privacy for him and his family.”
The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he underwent leg surgery. He was listed in serious condition, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Woods had to be extricated from the vehicle using an axe and a tube, officials. No other cars were involved in the wreck that injured the golfer. Deputies on scene did not see any signs of impairment.
The golfer, who was wearing a seat belt, was conscious and able to communicate when emergency services arrived on scene, officials said. He was not able to get up and was put on a back board.
Authorities are at the site of the crash. Watch in video below or click here.
Woods was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The vehicle sustained major damage, officials said. The interior of the car was “more or less intact,” but the front end and bumpers were severely damage.
That stretch of road is known as a hot spot for accidents, police said.
“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries,” his manager, Mark Steinberg, said. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”
Woods, whose first name is Eldrick, was the sole occupant of the vehicle, the sheriff’s department said.
The crash occurred shortly before 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, officials said. There was a second accident afterwards with people trying to check out the crashed car. No one was injured in that incident.
Officials initially said Woods needed to be extricated with the “jaws of life” tool.
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. One tweet on Monday showed him in a cart smiling with David Spade.
According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons to celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade. He did not play.
The 15-time major champion last played Dec. 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. The Masters is April 8-11 and when asked if he would be there during the CBS telecast, Woods replied, “God, I hope so.”
This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. 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 shocking 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 said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.