Tiger Woods was hospitalized in Los Angeles County with severe leg injuries Tuesday morning after being involved in a car accident in a hilly area known for car accidents.
We know the following so far:
At around 7 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday, police received a 911 call about a crash on Hawthorne Boulevard near Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal town of about 42,000 in Los Angeles County.
Six minutes later, officers arrived at the scene and found Tiger Woods trapped in a rolled over SUV, said Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first officer on the scene, said he had decided that firefighters should get Woods out of the vehicle and he spoke to Woods while they waited.
Rescue workers used an ax and pry bar to remove the vehicle’s windshield and free Woods, said Daryl L. Osby, chief of fire for the Los Angeles district. Woods was placed on a back board and taken by ambulance to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, the closest trauma center, said Deputy Gonzalez. Woods underwent emergency surgery, according to longtime agent Mark Steinberg.
How was Wood’s condition?
Woods was “awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room” after doctors performed surgery to treat several serious injuries to his right leg. This comes from a statement posted on Wood’s Twitter profile at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday.
Dr. Anish Mahajan, acting executive director of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said in the statement that both bones in Woods’ right lower leg, the tibia and fibula, were fractured in multiple places and were “open fractures,” meaning that this was pierced his skin.
Dr. Mahajan said doctors “stabilized” the breaks by inserting a stick into the tibia. He said that extra bones in Wood’s ankle and foot were also injured and that they were “stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.”
No injuries to Woods’ left leg were described in the statement, although Osby, the county fire chief, said earlier Tuesday that Woods had “serious injuries” to both legs. The boss did not explain further, saying he was not sure what other injuries Woods may have sustained.
Woods was conscious when the police first arrived at the scene on Tuesday morning, and he answered several questions from Deputy Gonzalez, who asked Woods his name and told him where he was and what time of day it was. Deputy Gonzalez said Woods was “clear and calm”.
Doctors who were not involved in Woods’ care predicted an extremely difficult recovery from his injuries.
What caused the crash? Accelerated Woods?
It will take days or weeks for traffic investigators to complete their investigation into the cause of the crash.
Woods was driving down a winding road. The speed limit is 45 mph, but Deputy Gonzalez said he had sometimes seen vehicles going over 80 mph. Sheriff Villanueva said it appeared Woods was traveling at a “higher than normal speed”.
According to Villanueva, there have been 13 accidents since January 2020, four of them with injuries, on the track where Woods crashed.
The vehicle Woods was driving hit the median, Sheriff Villanueva said, walked over it and then drove several hundred feet, rolled several times, and came to rest in the brush across the street. There were no skid marks or evasive lanes to suggest that Woods had made no attempt to brake, the sheriff said, and that his first contact had been with the mean mean before crossing into the then-empty opposite lane.
According to Sheriff Villanueva, there was no evidence of impairments such as alcohol or pill bottles, alcohol odor or unusual behavior by Woods. Because Woods did not appear to be affected, the sheriff said, “There was no effort to draw blood, for example in the hospital.”
There was no evidence that Woods was being followed by other vehicles and it was not known whether he was looking at his phone or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash, the sheriff said.
Weather, like a wet road or fog, was not a factor in the crash, according to the sheriff. Woods was buckled up and airbags deployed in the car, Deputy Gonzalez said. The bumper and front end of the car were “destroyed”, but the interior of the vehicle was “more or less intact,” said Sheriff Villanueva.
Investigators may be able to get information about what Woods did through the event recorder or the vehicle’s “black box”. Also, Deputy Gonzalez said he was wearing a body camera when he arrived at the scene. It is unclear whether there were any witnesses to the crash; The first person to call 911 lived near where the vehicle was located and heard the accident, Deputy Gonzalez said.
Will Woods be charged with crime?
While the investigation is still ongoing, Sheriff Villanueva was pretty clear at a press conference Wednesday that he believed the crash was accidental. “We are not considering any charges in this crash,” he said. “This is still an accident and an accident is not a crime.”
He reiterated that there is no evidence that Woods was impaired, saying that drug detection experts – police officers trained to identify people suspected of being impaired – neither to the scene of the accident, nor to were sent to the hospital. Villanueva said it was up to the hospital to determine whether Woods was tested for drugs or alcohol there and whether investigators would later like access to this information in order to obtain a subpoena.
What car did Woods drive? Why was he in the Los Angeles area?
Woods, who lives in Florida, was in Southern California last weekend to host the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, but not to attend. Genesis Motor is a luxury vehicle division of Hyundai. Woods was in a 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV made available to him during the tournament. He is known for always driving a replacement car himself at tournaments.
Woods stayed after the weekend to promote Golf Digest and GOLFTV, and when the crash happened, according to ESPN, he was on his way to a photoshoot with NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Justin Herbert.
Where was Wood’s career before the crash?
Even before the wreck on Tuesday, it was not clear when the 45-year-old Woods could play again or whether he could score a record sixth Masters win this spring.
Woods was trying to recover from his fifth back surgery, a microdiscectomy that he announced in January.
While performing on CBS during the final round of the Genesis Tournament on Sunday, Woods was asked if he would be competing in the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in April. “God I hope so,” he said. “I have to get there first.”
Despite saying last month that he would miss at least two tournaments, Woods did not publicly rule out playing in the Masters, which he last won in 2019. On Sunday he said he was feeling “fine, a bit stiff” and waited for another magnetic resonance imaging scanner to assess his progress.
In the meantime, he said he was “still doing the everyday things you need to do for rehab, the little things before you can start getting involved with anything more.”
Woods finished 38th in the 2020 Masters, which was held in November because of the coronavirus pandemic. Although he shot a 10 on the 12th hole on the final lap, he screwed five of the last six holes.
Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed to the coverage.