Tiger Woods is “awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room” after surgery on “significant” right leg injuries following a car crash which could have cost him his life.
A statement from Woods’ official Twitter account on Wednesday morning gave an update on the 15-time major winner’s status following the accident which happened on Tuesday.
The statement on Woods’s Twitter account said the golfer had suffered multiple “open fractures” to his lower right leg, with a rod placed in his tibia and screws and pins in his ankle.
“We thank everyone for the overwhelming support and messages during this tough time,” the statement read.
“As previously communicated Tiger was involved in a single-car accident early this morning in California. He has undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital.
“He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room.”
Woods survived “what would otherwise have been a fatal crash” because the interior of his vehicle remained largely intact, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The 45-year-old was “conscious and able to communicate” with emergency personnel at the scene and was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Centre.
No charges were filed, police said there was no evidence he was impaired and no one else was injured.
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.
Police said Woods was alert as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the airbags deployed and the inside of the SUV stayed mostly intact, which “gave him a cushion to survive the crash”.
Authorities said they checked for any odour of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and found none. They did not say how fast he was driving.
The crash happened about 7:15 am on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale suburbs.
“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Mr Gonzalez added.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as tournament host of the Genesis Invitational that ended on Sunday, and then to film content for his sponsor, Discovery-owned GOLFTV. He was not playing while recovering from a fifth back surgery on December 23.
The crash was another setback for Woods, the preeminent golfer of his generation who has spent the last decade in a cycle of injuries, self-inflicted personal problems and an arrest for DUI. Each time, he returned to the course and won.
Thoughts and prayers have come from everywhere, including Jack Nicklaus and Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, and former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, who has played golf with Woods and awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.
The news put a damper on the World Golf Championship in Florida, where Woods was eligible to play.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Justin Thomas, one of the younger players 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 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.