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Tiger Woods injured in car crash, has surgery on legs

By Stefanie Dazio and Doug Ferguson

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES —  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. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” he said.

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. 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.

Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019.

The Los Angeles Times and ESPN, citing sources it did not name, said Woods had a shattered ankle and two leg fractures, including a compound fracture.

“As if his body hasn’t endured enough,” Jon Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Florida. “I just hope he can get out of the hospital after recovery and he can still play with his kids and have a normal life.”

Woods has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking and even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport.

The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for the Genesis Invitational. He last played Dec. 20 in  an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12.

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