Tiger Woods’ team has released an update on his condition after undergoing surgery following a serious crash on Wednesday (AEDT).
The golf legend suffered major leg injuries after his car rolled near the side of a highway in Los Angeles, sparking fears about his long-term health and career.
A statement released on his social media channels said Woods “has undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle”, before quoting Anish Mahajan, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Interim CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, where Woods received treatment.
“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 Centre, a level 1 trauma centre,” Dr Mahajan said.
“Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilised by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the boot and ankle were stabilised 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.”
Woods’ camp added: “He is currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room.
“Thank you to the wonderful doctors and hospital staff at Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, 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-wises and privacy for him and his family.”
Here’s everything we know about the golf legend’s crash.
WHERE WAS WOODS?
Woods hosted the Genesis Invitational on the weekend in California and was in Los Angeles heading to the second day of a two-day shoot for Golf Digest and GOLF TV when his accident occurred.
WHAT WAS HE DOING BEFOREHAND?
The day before, selfies and videos showed Woods hitting the course with celebrities like actor David Spade and NBA icon Dwyane Wade.
Wade uploaded a clip to Instagram alongside Woods, saying: “I got an opportunity to come out here with this guy right here, man. Tiger, thankyou for teaching me something.
“I got some lessons today from who I think is the GOAT but Tiger Woods, thankyou brother, appreciate it.”
Woods was on his way to rub shoulders with NFL stars Drew Brees and Justin Herbert as part of the photo shoot on Wednesday, but never made it to the course.
WOODS ‘AGITATED AND IMPATIENT’
Reports emerged in the aftermath of his crash suggesting Woods was in an “agitated” mood when he got behind the wheel.
The 45-year-old was staying at a hotel where a major network television show was being shot and TMZ reported he left in a hurry just before 7am local time.
“Production sources tell TMZ, when the director arrived just before 7am, Tiger was driving his SUV very fast as he was leaving the property and almost hit the director’s car,” TMZ reported.
“The director was shaken enough to tell production staff about it after he parked.
“A crew member who saw Tiger as he got in his SUV at the hotel tells TMZ, once Tiger got in his vehicle, there was a delay in driving off and he appeared ‘agitated and impatient’. The crew member says once the delay was over, Tiger ‘took off fast’.”
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HE GOT BEHIND THE WHEEL?
Woods’ car flew off the road and rolled over several times, causing him serious leg injuries that required surgery.
The car reportedly travelled “several hundred feet” across a centre divider before hitting a tree, rolling several times and coming to a stop on its side.
The car ended up well away from the initial impact, lying on its side on a patch of grass some distance off the road, with its hood badly damaged.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said: “Apparently the first contact was with the centre median, and from there (the car) crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit the kerb, hit a tree, and there was several rollovers during that process.”
No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Initial reports suggested authorities who arrived on the scene needed to use the “jaws of life” to cut Woods from the SUV, but that was later denied. Instead, firefighters and paramedics used a halligan tool and axe to rip off the windscreen and pull the golf legend from the vehicle.
He was immediately transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, where he underwent surgery.
Woods remains in hospital and the world is waiting for updates about his condition.
HOW DID WOODS REACT?
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez — who responded before medical professionals arrived — said Woods was “calm and lucid” when he made it onto the scene.
“I spoke to him, I tried to keep him calm,” Gonzalez said.
“I asked him what his name was, he told me his name was Tiger and at that moment I immediately recognised him.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters Woods was “able to communicate” but “was not able to get up — that was not an option”.
TMZ reported Woods was “alert enough at the scene of the accident to ask first responders to have his manager pick up his stuff”.
Gonzalez added Woods was lucky to “come out of this alive”.
“I’ve seen many collisions, the nature of his vehicle and the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, I would say that it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life,” Gonzalez said.
“I think this also kind of speaks to the marvel of modern automobiles and they are much safer than they’ve ever been previously.”
WHAT CAUSED THE CRASH?
The crash occurred near the hilly Palos Verdes peninsula, at the bottom of a steep stretch of road which has runaway truck ramps for vehicles that lose control going downhill.
It is known as an accident “hotspot”, and Woods was travelling at “a greater speed than normal”, with no evidence of skid marks to suggest braking, Sheriff Villanueva said.
He added that Woods did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the early-morning incident. There was “no evidence of impairment at this time” including any influence of narcotics, medication or alcohol, said Villanueva, adding that the crash remained “subject to investigation.”
He added that no blood was drawn at the scene of the crash because the sheriff’s office does not have that capability.
The section of road has become notorious for fatal accidents over the years, Gonzalez calling it a “hotspot for traffic collisions as well as speed”.
“People see a nice stretch of road, and maybe they’re not watching the speedometer, or maybe they’re in a hurry,” he said.
A local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Los Angeles Times: “You don’t know how fast you can descend.
“If you’re not familiar with this area, it’s just really easy to go fast.”
Another resident told local TV station KTLA: “The one thing that all of us in this area recognise is we go through brakes a lot.
“Because of this grade and the speed you pick up, you typically have to ride your brakes as you’re coming down.”
WORLD REACTS TO HORROR NEWS
Former US president Donald Trump led a host of wellwishers, saying: “Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion.”
Another ex-American president, Barack Obama, tweeted: “Sending my prayers to @TigerWoods and his family tonight – here’s to a speedy recovery for the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) of golf. If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to never count Tiger out.”
Aussie golf legend Greg Norman added: “He has mental strength stronger than most and has fought many battles and won many of them. His mental strength will win this battle.”
Golf professional Justin Thomas fought to hold back tears as he reacted to the incident during a press conference.
“I’m sick to my stomach. It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident,” Thomas said. “I just hope he’s alright. Just worried for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”
Ian Poulter tweeted: “Wishing a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad.”
The PGA Tour also released a statement saying: “Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”
WHAT NEXT IN TIGER’S GOLF CAREER?
Woods, one of the most successful golfers of all time, has won 15 major golf championships.
He recently underwent his fifth back surgery, and said he was uncertain if he will be able to play at the upcoming Masters, which he last won in 2019.
He is the winner of 82 US PGA titles, level with Sam Snead for the all-time record, but whether he will ever be able to play again looms as a major question, should he recover from his injuries.
His former mistress Rachel Uchitel, who was a central figure in a recent documentary released about the sporting icon, is worried what the crash will mean for his career.
“Obviously hearing the news has shaken me up as it’s probably shaken everybody up to see that,” she told the New York Post. “Hearing (agent Mark Steinberg) say that he’s in surgery for his legs is something that really worries me and when you hear a comment like that you know it’s true.
“He’s an athlete and his legs are essential to his sport and to him being who he is and he’s already had trouble with his body up until this point.
“He didn’t need any more injuries.”
With AFP, New York Post