Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side near a steep road in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he underwent leg surgery.
Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median, crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out.
The airbags went off and the inside of the vehicle stayed basically intact, and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.
They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and found none. They didn’t say how fast he was driving.
The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to get to the wreck, said he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and crashes are common.
FORTUNATE TO SURVIVE CRASH
“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said.
When the deputy arrived, a neighbor told him the driver was still in the vehicle. Gonzalez said he poked his head through a hole in the windshield and saw Woods with his seatbelt on.
The deputy asked Woods questions, including what day it was and where he was.
“Tiger was able to speak to me lucidly,” Gonzalez said. Woods appeared “incredibly calm,” the deputy said, likely because he was in shock.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade.
According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club.