Police on Wednesday sought to determine what caused Tiger Woods to swerve off a Southern California road in his SUV, colliding with a tree and rolling down a hillside in a crash that left the golf great seriously injured.
Woods, 45, was pried from the wreckage by rescue crews and rushed by ambulance to nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Center suffering what his agent described as “multiple leg injuries”.
A statement posted on Woods’s official Twitter account on Tuesday night said he had undergone a “long surgical procedure” to his lower right leg and ankle and was “awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room”.
Compound fractures of his tibia and fibula — the two bones of his leg below the knee — were stabilised with a rod, and screws and pins were used to stabilise additional injuries to his foot and ankle, Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer of Harbor-UCLA, said in the tweet.
Mahajan also said that trauma to the muscle and other soft tissue of the leg “required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling”.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies responding to the wreck found no immediate indication that Woods had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs before losing control of his vehicle shortly after 7am.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, however, said the golf star, who was “lucid” following the accident, appeared to have been going faster than normal for a downhill, curving stretch of road known by locals to be hazardous. Weather was not considered a factor.
Video footage from the scene showed Woods’s dark gray 2021 Genesis SUV badly crumpled and lying on its side near the bottom of the hillside, its windows smashed.
Woods’s injuries were not life-threatening, the sheriff said, but sports commentators were already speculating that the crash could end the career of the greatest golfer of his generation.
Woods, one of the world’s most celebrated sports figures, was the sole occupant of the car when it crashed near the suburban communities of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, the sheriff’s department said. The vehicle veered across the centre island of the road into an opposite traffic lane, striking a roadside curb and a tree as it careened over an embankment, and “there were several rollovers” before the SUV came to rest, Villanueva said.
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