Tiger Woods 'was not drunk' when the car he was driving crashed, LA sheriff says

Tiger Woods's car flipped and rolled several times after it crashed. Credit: AP

Tiger Woods was "not drunk" when the car he was driving crashed on a stretch of road where accidents are common, the Los Angeles County sheriff has said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the crash, which left Woods with serious leg injuries, was “purely an accident” with no evidence the golf star was under the influence of drugs or alcohol despite ongoing investigations.

“He was not drunk,” Sheriff Villanueva said during a livestreamed social media event.

“We can throw that one out.”

Investigators may yet seek warrants for a blood sample to definitively rule out alcohol and drugs as one former police officer said it was too early in the investigation to rule it as an accident.

In this aerial image taken from video provided by KABC-TV, the vehicle is seen on its side Credit: KABC-TV via AP

Woods, who had checked into a clinic in 2017 for help dealing with prescription medication, was driving alone when his SUV struck the central reservation, crossed into oncoming lanes and flipped several times.

The crash caused “significant” injuries to his right leg that required surgery, according to a post on the golfer’s Twitter account.

Crashes on the stretch of road where the accident happened are common, police said.

Detectives could apply for warrants for Woods’s phone to see if he was driving distracted, as well as the vehicle’s event data recorder or “black box”, which would give information about how fast he was going.

Joe Giacalone, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired New York police sergeant, said it was “premature” for Sheriff Villanueva to determine the crash was an accident just a day later.

“The blood test could give us a whole other insight,” Mr Giacalone said, noting some drugs were not necessarily detectable by observation.

“Because it’s Tiger Woods, people are going to demand answers. You have to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.”

Tiger Woods, left, on Sunday, presenting Max Homa with his trophy at the Genesis Invitational tournament at Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. Credit: Ryan Kang/AP

In 2017, Woods was arrested on a DUI charge when Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of his car parked awkwardly on the side of the road, with its engine still running, two flat tires and an indicator flashing.

Woods said he had an unexpected reaction to pain medication. He eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.

Three weeks after the arrest, he entered a clinic for help dealing with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.

Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving after an incident in 2017 Credit: Richard Sellers/PA

The crash this week was the latest setback for Woods, who at times has looked unstoppable with his 15 major championships and record-tying 82 victories on the PGA Tour.

He is among the world’s most recognisable sports figures, and at 45, with a reduced schedule from nine previous surgeries, remains golf’s biggest draw.

He was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. Monday and Tuesday had been set aside for him to give golf tips to celebrities on Discovery-owned GOLFTV.