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Tiger Woods was within the driver’s seat of a mangled SUV that rolled and ended up on its facet down a steep roadway within the Los Angeles suburbs Tuesday morning, seatbelt nonetheless fixed, each legs critically injured.
He was lucid sufficient to offer his identify —“Tiger” — to the sheriff’s deputy who had poked his head by means of a gap within the windshield.
“At that moment, it clicked in my mind and I immediately recognized him as Tiger Woods,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez mentioned Tuesday.
The single-car crash was one other setback for Woods, the preeminent golfer of his era who has spent the final decade in a cycle of accidents, self-inflicted private issues and an arrest for DUI. Each time, he returned to the course and received.
Even at 45, Woods is among the many extra recognizable sports activities figures on the planet and is sports activities’ greatest draw. His 2019 Masters victory was seen as a transcendent comeback and additional cemented his popularity for toughness and clutch performances. Briefly Tuesday, the world paused and apprehensive that Woods may be critically injured or worse. As it turned clear that his life wasn’t at risk, the apparent query got here out: Can he golf once more?
“As if his body hasn’t endured enough,” Jon Rahm, the No. 2 participant on the planet, mentioned 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.”
His agent mentioned Woods underwent surgical procedure on his leg, and the accidents had been described as critical. No costs had been filed, police mentioned there was no proof he was impaired and nobody else was injured.
It was the tenth surgical procedure for Woods, who has suffered knee, again and neck issues for greater than a decade.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as match host of the Genesis Invitational that ended Sunday, after which to movie content material for his sponsor, Discovery-owned GOLFTV. He was not enjoying whereas recovering from a fifth again surgical procedure on Dec. 23.
Woods was alone within the SUV when it crashed right into a raised median, crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled a number of instances, authorities mentioned at a information convention. Police mentioned Woods was alert and in a position to talk as firefighters pried open the entrance windshield to get him out.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva mentioned the airbags deployed and the within of the SUV stayed principally intact, which “gave him a cushion to survive the crash.”
There was no fast proof that Woods was impaired. Authorities mentioned they checked for any odor of alcohol or different indicators he was below the affect of a substance and located none. They didn’t say how briskly he was driving.
The crash occurred about 7:15 a.m. on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane street by means of upscale suburbs. Gonzalez, the primary to get to the wreck, mentioned he typically catches individuals topping 80 mph within the 45 mph zone and crashes are frequent.
The overturned automotive of Tiger Woods is seen after he was concerned in a automotive crash, close to Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez mentioned.
Thoughts and prayers have come from all over the place — Jack Nicklaus and Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, who has performed golf with Woods and awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.
Woods, who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour document of 82 profession victories, had mentioned in the course of the Genesis Invitational tv broadcast that he was awaiting yet one more check from his Dec. 23 microdiscectomy surgical procedure earlier than studying if he may develop his work. Asked about enjoying the Masters on April 8-11, Woods replied, “God, I hope so.”
Woods has carried the game since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, profitable on the most prolific price in trendy PGA Tour historical past. He is singularly chargeable for TV rankings spiking, which has led to huge will increase in prize cash.
He feared he would by no means play once more till fusion surgical procedure on his decrease backbone in April 2017. He returned a yr later, and received the 2018 Tour Championship.
The information put a damper on the World Golf Championship in Florida, the place Woods was eligible to play. (FILE/Reuters)
It was his first main in 11 years. The earlier one was the U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines, on a left leg with shredded knee ligaments and a double stress fracture. He had reconstructive surgical procedure a number of days later.
Woods final performed Dec. 20 within the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial occasion the place gamers are paired with dad and mom or youngsters. He performed together with his son, Charlie, who's now 12. Woods additionally has a 13-year-old daughter, Samantha.
The information put a damper on the World Golf Championship in Florida, the place Woods was eligible to play.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” mentioned Justin Thomas, No. 3 on the planet and among the many youthful gamers whom Woods has embraced. “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 concerned in a automotive investigation. The most infamous was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a hearth hydrant and hit a tree. That was the beginning of stunning revelations that he had been dishonest on his spouse with a number of ladies. Woods misplaced main company sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and didn't return to golf for 5 months.
In May 2017, Florida police discovered him asleep behind the wheel of a automotive parked awkwardly on the facet of the street. He was arrested on a DUI cost and mentioned later he had an surprising response to prescription medication for his again ache. Woods later pleaded responsible to reckless driving and checked right into a clinic to get assist with prescription medicine and a sleep problem.
Woods hasn’t received for the reason that Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he’s diminished his enjoying schedule in recent times due to accidents. Besides his again surgical procedures, he’s had 4 surgical procedures on his left knee, together with a significant reconstruction after he received the 2008 U.S. Open.