Feb. 24 (UPI) — Golf legend Tiger Woods was awake and recovering from surgery at the hospital early Wednesday after being involved in a serious single-vehicle crash, a statement published to his Twitter account said.
Woods was rushed to the hospital after being in involved in a serious car crash Tuesday morning in California that caused serious injuries to his lower right leg and ankle that required him to undergo a lengthy emergency surgery, the statement said.
“He is a currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room,” it said.
Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where the golfer underwent surgery, said Woods suffered “comminuted open fractures” in his right leg that were stabilized by inserting a rod into his tibia bone.
“Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins,” Mahajan said. “Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relive pressure due to swelling.”
Police officers were called to the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday due to a single vehicle roll-over crash and found the 45-year-old golfer conscious but trapped within his courtesy 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
Woods was extracted from the SUV through the windshield, Daryl Osby, chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said during a press conference, adding that Woods, the sole occupant of the vehicle, had sustained injuries to his legs and was transported in serious condition to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for surgery.
Villanueva said the responding officers saw “no evidence of impairment” and that Woods was wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred.
Los Angeles authorities believe Woods was traveling at a high rate of speed down a steep hill known for accidents when his SUV crossed the center divider and rolled over several times before coming to a stop in the brush.
The front of the SUV was destroyed but the interior and cabin where intact and likely saved Woods’ life, Villanueva said.
“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,” he said.
“Sending my prayers to Tiger Woods and his family tonight — here’s to a speedy recovery for the GOAT of golf,” former President Barack Obama tweeted, referring to Woods by the acronym that means the greatest of all time. “If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s never to count Tiger out.”
Woods was in Los Angeles for the Genesis Invitational, which he hosts at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
Golf Digest said in a statement that Woods, who has a long-term partnership with Discovery, was filming his latest series on Monday, which included him instructing actor Jada Pinkett Smith, basketball player Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade.
“He was due to continue filming with us today,” the company said Tuesday. “Everyone at Discovery and Golf Digest is saddened by the news and is wishing for his speedy recovery.”
Smith confirmed she had been with Woods on Monday and was sending him prayers.
“Don’t take not even a moment for granted!” she tweeted. “I know you’re good because your Tiger within is a beast!!!”
Both Wade and Spade had separately posted images and video to social media on Monday from a golf course with Woods.
“The reason I picked up a golf club,” Wade said on Instagram, posting an image of him putting with the golf legend.
Woods, who has won 15 major championships, hasn’t participated in a PGA Tour event in more than three months due to a back injury for which he underwent a fifth surgery for on Dec. 23, though he had hoped to enter the Augusta, Ga., Masters Tournament in April.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Justin Thomas, a fellow golfer and friend of Woods. “I just hope he’s alright. I just worry for his kids. I’m sure they are struggling.”
Woods has two children, daughter, Sam, 13, and son, Charlie, 12.
Woods pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges of reckless driving after being found asleep at the wheel in Jupiter, Fla., which he said was the result of “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
In 2009, he was crashed his car into a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida home and was cited for careless driving.
A second vehicle whose driver had pulled over at the scene to aid Woods after the accident was also rear-ended, officials said, though no major injuries were reported.
Alex Butler and Connor Grott contributed reporting to this report.