Tiger Woods ‘recovering’ following surgery after roll-over car crash

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Tiger Woods suffered serious injuries to both legs as his car flew off the road and flipped several times on Tuesday near Los Angeles in a crash he was “very fortunate” to survive, law enforcement officials who found the golf legend said.

Woods underwent surgery to repair “significant orthopaedic injuries” to his lower right leg and ankle, which included the insertion of a rod into his tibia and the use of “a combination of screws and pins” to stabilise his foot and ankle, Harbour-UCLA Medical Centre Chief Medical Officer Anish Mahajan said in a statement released on the golfer’s Twitter account on Tuesday.

“He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room,” the Twitter statement read, adding there would be no further updates, and thanking first responders and well-wishers.

Woods did not appear to be under the influence of substances during the early-morning incident, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

No other vehicles or passengers were involved in the crash, which occurred on a steep stretch of road known as an accident “hotspot”, where Woods was travelling at “a greater speed than normal” said the sheriff.

“I will say that it is very fortunate that Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first officer to arrive at the scene.

The vehicle driven by golfer Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes, California after a rollover accident. PHOTO: AFP

Gonzalez found Woods trapped in his vehicle but conscious, appearing “calm and lucid” and able to identify himself to the deputy as “Tiger”.

“It is my understanding that he had serious injuries to both legs,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, describing Woods’ condition as “stable”.

Firefighters and paramedics extricated Woods from the wreckage of his SUV and transported him with a neck collar and backboard to a local hospital via road.

The 45-year-old, one of the most successful golfers of all time, has won 15 major championships.

He recently underwent his fifth back surgery, and said he was uncertain if he would be able to complete his latest injury comeback in time to play at April’s Masters.

“On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

Woods was in the Los Angeles area for his annual Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club, and was driving a courtesy car on the morning of the crash.

It happened near the hilly Palos Verdes peninsula, at the bottom of a stretch of road which has runaway truck ramps for drivers who lose control going downhill.

The section has become notorious for fatal accidents over the years.

“Apparently the first contact was with the centre median, and from there (the car) crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit the curb, hit a tree, and there was several rollovers during that process,” said Villanueva, who did not provide a cause of the crash.

The car ended up several hundred feet from the initial impact, lying on its side on a patch of grass some distance off the road, with its hood badly damaged.

News of the crash spread rapidly around the sports world and beyond, with figures inside and outside golfing swift to send their best wishes to Woods.

“Sending my prayers to @TigerWoods and his family tonight – here’s to a speedy recovery for the GOAT of golf,” tweeted former US president Barack Obama.