Tiger Woods sustained multiple leg injuries in a serious single-car accident Tuesday morning near Los Angeles.
Woods had to be extricated from his vehicle by members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and was then transferred with non-life-threatening injuries to nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Woods' team sent out an update early Wednesday morning via Woods' social media accounts stating he had "undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle. ... Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia."
A comminuted fracture is one in which a bone is broken in more than two places. An open fracture occurs when the skin is broken.
Dr. Anish Majajan, the chief medical officer and interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, also was quoted as saying, "Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscle to relieve pressure due to swelling."
The statement added that Woods was "currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room," but did not mention his recovery.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which first released a statement shortly before 2:30 p.m. ET and later held a press conference, the roll-over crash occurred at approximately 7:12 a.m. local time on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
Woods’ vehicle, a Genesis mid-size SUV, was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Blvd. at Blackhorse Rd. when the car struck the center median, hit two signs and a small tree before crossing the southbound lanes, rolling over multiple times, and ending up on its driver’s side just off the road, some “several hundred feet away” from the vehicle’s initial contact with the median, according to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Villanueva said that Woods’ vehicle was traveling at a “greater speed than normal” in the 45-mph zone and that there were no signs of braking. He added that the downhill and high-graded portion of road where the crash happened sees a “high frequency of accidents.” Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first officer on the scene, called the area a “trouble spot” and said he’s seen many accidents there, including fatal ones.
“It’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said.
When Gonzalez arrived at the accident site, Woods was still in the driver’s seat and wearing his seatbelt. Gonzalez said that Woods was able to speak and “seemed calm and lucid.” Villanueva added that the front end of the vehicle was “totally destroyed” and the air bags deployed. “Thankfully,” Villanueva said, “the interior was more or less intact, which kind of gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would’ve been a fatal crash.”
When the fire department arrived, it used a prying tool and ax to remove the “trapped” Woods from his vehicle, L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said, clarifying an earlier and inaccurate report that the jaws of life were used.
Osby did not know how long the extrication process took, but he did note that Woods had “serious injuries to both legs” and lacerations, though “no other life endangering injuries to my knowledge.” Woods had to be placed on a backboard with a neck collar and “proper splints,” according to Osby. Gonzalez added that Woods was “not able to stand under his own power.”
“He was in serious condition, but he was stable enough to transfer to a trauma center,” Osby said. “He met trauma center criteria, but he wasn’t so serious that he needed to be transferred to the nearest hospital for immediate life-saving procedures.”
No other details were provided at the time on Woods’ health or on the surgery.
“We've been in touch with his manager and they didn't want me to say anything on his condition right now,” Villanueva said. “All we know is that it's a serious condition as a result of the accident and that's about all they want to say.” He then added that Woods “was alive and he was conscious, and that’s the extent of that.”
While it could take weeks for the accident investigation to be completed, Villanueva did note that weather was not a factor and that there was “no evidence of impairment at this point in time.”
Woods, 45, was in Los Angeles for the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational, which his foundation runs. Woods, who is still recovering from a Dec. 23 back surgery, did not play in the tournament at Riviera, but he was on hand Sunday to join CBS' Jim Nantz in the booth and take part in the trophy presentation.
He then remained in the LA area, staying at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, to do a two-day shoot with Golf Digest/Golf TV at Rolling Hills Country Club, about two miles from the crash site. Woods joined a list of celebrities, including Dwayne Wade, Justin Timberlake, Mookie Betts, Jessica Alba and David Spade, on Monday at Rolling Hills.
“We have been made aware of Tiger Woods' car accident today," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in a statement. "We are awaiting further information when he comes out of surgery. On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”