LOS ANGELES (CBS SF/AP) — Tiger Woods was awake and responsive Tuesday night, after he was involved in a rollover crash in Southern California Tuesday, suffering serious injuries, authorities said.
Police said the golf star and Stanford University graduate was hurt when his vehicle jumped the median into opposing traffic, went over the curb and rolled over just after 7 a.m. on a winding road on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and the Rancho Palos Verdes area in Los Angeles County.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) February 23, 2021
The L.A. County Sheriff’s office said the driver – later identified as Woods – had to be extricated from the vehicle with the “jaws of life” and was then transported to a hospital with unspecified injuries.
According to doctors in Los Angeles, Woods suffered “fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg released a statement following the crash: “Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”
Authorities said there’s no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired at the time of the crash.
The cause of the wreck wasn’t clear. The two-lane road curves through upscale suburbs, and the northbound side that Woods was driving on descends steeply enough that signs warn trucks to use lower gears. The speed limit is 45 mph.
According to TMZ, Woods was staying at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and left in a hurry Tuesday morning, and was rushing to a TV shoot in Pacific Palisades.
At a news conference, the police chief and fire chief of Los Angeles County didn’t answer follow-up questions on how they know he wasn’t impaired or how fast he was driving. Weather was not a factor in the crash.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby said Woods was conscious and able to communicate when authorities arrived to pry him from the wrecked SUV. He was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera.
A KABC-TV helicopter showed the car on its side, with its front end heavily damaged just off the side of a road near a hillside, with its airbags deployed.
There was a second crash when a vehicle that had apparently stopped to help Woods got hit, said Christopher Thomas, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. That wreck was very minor, and no one was hurt.
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.
He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. 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 players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event.
Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time.
He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter.
During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities.
He was not sure when he would play again.
San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice was among the sports celebrities sending out his best wishes to Woods on social media.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.”
This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months.
In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.
Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back.
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.