Tiger Woods suffers multiple leg injuries in single-car crash in Southern California

LOS ANGELES – Tiger Woods sustained serious injuries to both of his legs in a one-car crash early Tuesday in the Los Angeles area, authorities said.

Los Angeles County officials said in a news conference that the golfing great had to be extricated from his vehicle after the crash, in which his Genesis GV80 struck the median of a street in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, rolled over multiple times and landed in the brush several hundred feet away. Woods, 45, was the only person in the car.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was conscious when officers arrived on the scene and there was no evidence that he was impaired. The 15-time major champion was later transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in serious but stable condition.

"He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support," Woods' longtime agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

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Tiger Woods' injuries in a car crash early Tuesday were called serious but not life-threatening.
Tiger Woods' injuries in a car crash early Tuesday were called serious but not life-threatening.

Late Tuesday night, a statement was released via Woods' Twitter account: "We thank everyone for the overwhelming support and messages during this tough time. As previously communicated, Tiger was involved in a single-car accident earlier this morning in California. He has undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital.

"He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room. Thank you to the wonderful doctors and hospital staff at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and the Fire Department. Your support and assistance has been outstanding."

Authorities said the crash occurred just before 7:15 a.m. PST on a downhill stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard on the border of Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates, an upscale neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles.

Woods had been in the area for the Genesis Invitational, a PGA Tour event at nearby Riviera Country Club. He hosted the event and presented the trophy but did not play because of a recent back surgery.

Area residents told USA TODAY Sports that car accidents are frequent along that particular stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard. Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first officer on the scene of the crash, said the speed limit there is 45 mph but he has repeatedly seen drivers touch 80 mph.

"As mentioned by the sheriff, that specific stretch of roadway is one of our trouble spots," Gonzalez said.

Authorities did not indicate how fast Woods might have been going, though Villanueva said the trajectory of the crash indicates it was "a greater speed than normal."

Gonzalez first arrived on the scene at 7:18 a.m. PST and found Woods, who was wearing his seat belt, trapped in the car. He said he made contact with the golfer, who seemed "calm and lucid" as they waited for the fire department to arrive.

"I asked him what his name was. He told me his name was Tiger," Gonzalez said. "And at that moment, I immediately recognized him."

The fire department arrived at the scene roughly 10 minutes later and began removing the front windshield of the car. Though the sheriff's department initially said authorities needed to use the Jaws of Life to get Woods out, fire Chief Daryl Osby clarified the tool was not needed.

Villanueva said the front of the car, a mid-size SUV, was "totally destroyed" but the interior was "more or less intact."

"Thankfully, the interior was more or less intact, which kind of gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would have been a fatal crash," Villanueva said.

Authorities added that there was a second crash at the same spot later Tuesday morning as another vehicle apparently pulled over to see what happened, and was struck by a third vehicle. That crash did not result in any injuries.

The severity of Woods' leg injuries was not immediately clear as of Tuesday night, though Osby repeatedly described them as "serious" and said both of his legs were affected. Gonzalez added that Woods was unable to walk under his own power.

"I will say that it's very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive," Gonzalez said.

The Tuesday crash comes a little more than a decade after Woods was involved in a now-infamous accident outside his former Florida home. At roughly 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2009, his Cadillac Escalade hit several hedges and a fire hydrant before coming to rest after hitting a tree.

Daniel Saylor, the former chief of police in Windermere, Florida, told The Associated Press at the time that police found Woods outside the vehicle with his wife, Elin, nearby. The crash happened several days after the tabloid the National Enquirer published a story saying Woods was having an affair.

Not long after the accident, and the story, Woods would admit to living a secret life and having multiple affairs.

News of Woods' crash Tuesday led to an outpouring of support and concern throughout the golf community. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement Tuesday that he was awaiting further information after Woods' surgery and that "Tiger is in our prayers." Tour players at this week's WGC-Workday Championship, meanwhile, were stunned.

"It’s sickening," fellow tour pro Adam Scott said. "He’s our hero out here. You think guys like Tiger and Kobe Bryant are untouchable, but they’re not. I just hope he’s all right."

Bryant, the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star, died in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area a little more than a year ago.

Arguably the most accomplished golfer of his era, Woods has battled a string of injuries in recent years, including several involving his back. He last played in an event on Dec. 20, when he teamed up with his 11-year-old son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship.

Woods had recently been recovering from his fifth back surgery, a microdiscectomy procedure that removed disc fragments causing nerve damage on Dec. 23. On Sunday, he told CBS’ Jim Nantz that he was going to having an MRI soon that would help determine his next steps in recovery.

Contributing: Mike Freeman, Golfweek, The Associated Press

Peter reported from Rolling Hills Estates, California.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tiger Woods accident: PGA star injures legs in single-car crash