Tiger Woods was within the driver’s seat of a mangled SUV that rolled and ended up on its aspect down a steep roadway within the Los Angeles suburbs Tuesday morning, seatbelt nonetheless fixed, each legs critically injured.
He was lucid sufficient to offer his title —“Tiger” — to the sheriff’s deputy who had poked his head via a gap within the windshield.
“At that second, it clicked in my thoughts and I instantly acknowledged him as Tiger Woods,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez stated Tuesday.
The one-car crash was one other setback for Woods, the preeminent golfer of his technology who has spent the final decade in a cycle of accidents, self-inflicted private issues and an arrest for DUI. Every time, he returned to the course and gained.
Even at 45, Woods is among the many extra recognizable sports activities figures on this planet and is sports activities’ largest draw. His 2019 Masters victory was seen as a transcendent comeback and additional cemented his fame for toughness and clutch performances. Briefly Tuesday, the world paused and fearful that Woods is likely to be critically injured or worse. Because it grew to become clear that his life wasn’t in peril, the apparent query got here out: Can he golf once more?
“As if his physique hasn’t endured sufficient,” Jon Rahm, the No. 2 participant on this planet, stated from the Workday Championship in Florida. “I simply hope he can get out of the hospital after restoration and he can nonetheless play along with his children and have a traditional life.”
His agent stated Woods underwent surgical procedure on his leg, and the accidents have been described as severe. No expenses have been filed, police stated there was no proof he was impaired and nobody else was injured.
It was the 10th surgical procedure for Woods, who has suffered knee, again and neck issues for greater than a decade.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as event host of the Genesis Invitational that ended Sunday, after which to movie content material for his sponsor, Discovery-owned GOLFTV. He was not enjoying whereas recovering from a fifth again surgical procedure on Dec. 23.
Woods was alone within the SUV when it crashed right into a raised median, crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled a number of instances, authorities stated at a information convention. Police stated Woods was alert and in a position to talk as firefighters pried open the entrance windshield to get him out.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated the airbags deployed and the within of the SUV stayed principally intact, which “gave him a cushion to outlive the crash.”
There was no fast proof that Woods was impaired. Authorities stated they checked for any odor of alcohol or different indicators he was below the affect of a substance and located none. They didn’t say how briskly he was driving.
The crash occurred about 7:15 a.m. on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane highway via upscale suburbs. Gonzalez, the primary to get to the wreck, stated he generally catches folks topping 80 mph within the 45 mph zone and crashes are frequent.
“I’ll say that it’s very lucky that Mr. Woods was in a position to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez stated.
Ideas and prayers have come from in all places — Jack Nicklaus and Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, who has performed golf with Woods and awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.
Woods, who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour document of 82 profession victories, had stated throughout the Genesis Invitational tv broadcast that he was awaiting yet one more take a look at from his Dec. 23 microdiscectomy surgical procedure earlier than studying if he might broaden his work. Requested about enjoying the Masters on April 8-11, Woods replied, “God, I hope so.”
Woods has carried the game since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, profitable on the most prolific fee in trendy PGA Tour historical past. He’s singularly liable for TV rankings spiking, which has led to huge will increase in prize cash.
He feared he would by no means play once more till fusion surgical procedure on his decrease backbone in April 2017. He returned a 12 months later, and gained the 2018 Tour Championship.
It was his first main in 11 years. The earlier one was the U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines, on a left leg with shredded knee ligaments and a double stress fracture. He had reconstructive surgical procedure a number of days later.
Woods final performed Dec. 20 within the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial occasion the place gamers are paired with dad and mom or youngsters. He performed along with his son, Charlie, who’s now 12. Woods additionally has a 13-year-old daughter, Samantha.
The information put a damper on the World Golf Championship in Florida, the place Woods was eligible to play.
“I’m sick to my abdomen,” stated Justin Thomas, No. three on this planet and among the many youthful gamers whom Woods has embraced. “It hurts to see one in all my closest mates get in an accident. Man, I simply hope he’s all proper.”
That is the third time Woods has been concerned in a automobile investigation. Essentially the most infamous was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fireplace hydrant and hit a tree. That was the beginning of surprising revelations that he had been dishonest on his spouse with a number of girls. Woods misplaced main company sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and didn’t return to golf for 5 months.
This was @TigerWoods and @DwyaneWade simply yesterday – Woods was driving to fulfill Drew Brees and Chargers QB Justin Herbert out on the similar course immediately, experiences @ShelleyESPN. pic.twitter.com/ua0rql3xgp
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 24, 2021
In Might 2017, Florida police discovered him asleep behind the wheel of a automobile parked awkwardly on the aspect of the highway. He was arrested on a DUI cost and stated later he had an sudden response to prescription medication for his again ache. Woods later pleaded responsible to reckless driving and checked right into a clinic to get assist with prescription treatment and a sleep problem.
Woods hasn’t gained because the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he’s diminished his enjoying schedule in recent times due to accidents. Apart from his again surgical procedures, he’s had 4 surgical procedures on his left knee, together with a serious reconstruction after he gained the 2008 U.S. Open.