LOS ANGELES – Golfer Tiger Woods is in serious but stable condition after suffering injuries to both legs in a traffic accident on Tuesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“Thankfully the interior was more-or-less intact, which gave him the cushion to survive what would have been a fatal crash,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Woods was alone driving an SUV about 7:15 a.m. when the vehicle struck the center median of a winding residential street, traveled several hundred feet and rolled over multiple times after going off the pavement, Villanueva said. A resident of nearby Rancho Palos Verdes called 911.
County firefighters and paramedics used a pry bar and an ax to extricate Woods, 45, through the vehicle’s windshield, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.
“Tiger was trapped inside the vehicle,” Osby said, adding that Woods was wearing a seatbelt. “He was taken from the vehicle with C collar (a neck brace) and backboard for spinal precautions.”
Although accident investigators will have to examine evidence further, “there was no evidence of impairment at this time,” Villanueva said in response to a question about drug or alcohol use.
Additionally, Villanueva said Woods appeared to be traveling at a “relatively greater speed than normal” and noted that accidents on the road were “not uncommon” because that downhill road has “slopes and curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents.”
Villanueva added there were “no skid marks, no braking. So apparently the first contact was with the center median, and from there then crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit a curve, hit a tree, and there were several rollovers in that process.”
Officials have not determined a cause of the crash. Woods was conscious when removed from the vehicle, authorities said.
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN in a statement that the golfer suffered “multiple leg injuries,” and was in surgery Tuesday afternoon. Representatives for Harbor-UCLA Medical Center did not respond to a request for an update.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend hosting the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. Live footage from Los Angeles broadcasters showed a Genesis Invitational logo on the door of the destroyed SUV.
Woods has been sidelined from golf after undergoing back surgery in recent months and, before Tuesday’s accident, had been expected to be out for a few more months to recover.
In an interview on Sunday during the final round of the tournament, Woods told CBS that he was “feeling fine, a little stiff. … I’m still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff you have to do for rehab.”
Woods is widely considered one of the greatest golfers ever and boasts 82 wins on the PGA Tour, including 15 majors. Woods’ most recent major victory came in the 2019 Masters Tournament, which was his first victory in a major tournament in more than a decade.
The Orange County, California, native has been involved in two notable car accidents previously. In 2009, while backing out of his Orlando home, he hit a fire hydrant and tree in the middle of the night and had to be rushed to the hospital, ESPN reported.
Then in 2017, Woods was arrested in Florida after officers found him asleep at the wheel and was found to have multiple drugs in his system at the time, CNN reported.
Woods has not competed in the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale since 2015, but has had a number of memorable moments competing in the tournament in the past, including a hole-in-one on TPC Scottsdale’s famous hole 16 in 1997.