LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Golfer Tiger Woods, one of the world’s most iconic athletes, has undergone extensive surgery and remains hospitalized Wednesday after suffered major leg injuries Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash near Rancho Palos Verdes.
The 45-year-old underwent a “long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle,” according to a statement posted on the athlete’s Twitter account hours after the accident.
The statement included a detailed explanation of Woods’ injuries, with Dr. Anish Mahajan saying, “Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center. 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. 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 muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.”
At last check Tuesday night, Woods was “awake, responsive, and recovering” in the hospital.
The crash was reported just after 7 a.m. when sheriff’s officials responded to a rollover traffic collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and the Rancho Palos Verdes, according to an LASD statement.
Sheriff’s officials say the car was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when it struck a center divider in Rancho Palos Verdes and careened across the roadway, hit a tree, rolled over, and came to a stop on its side in some nearby brush.
Woods was the sole occupant of the SUV, and no other vehicles were believed to be involved in the crash. He was pulled from the wreckage by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics, then taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance by ambulance.
Fire officials said Woods was in serious but stable condition when he was taken to the hospital after he suffered “serious injuries to both legs.”
Lt. Michael White later told CBSLA that reports that the Jaws of Life were used to extricate Woods were inaccurate. Instead, he was extricated using a Halligan tool, which is a piece of forcible entry equipment used by first responders, according to LACFD Chief Daryl L. Osby.
“Tiger Woods was trapped inside the vehicle, so our firefighters and our firefighter paramedics used a pry bar, called a Halligan tool, and an ax to pry parts of the vehicle away from him,” Osby said.
At an afternoon news conference, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said deputies who responded to the crash saw “no evidence of impairment.”
Officials also said Woods was conscious following the crash.
Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzales, who was first to arrive at the crash site, said it was “very fortunate Mr. Woods came out alive.”
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.
GALLERY: Tiger Woods Car Crash
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg released this statement Tuesday morning: “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.”
CBSLA Sports Director Jim Hill says the 15-time major champion with 82 career PGA Tour wins was shooting a documentary for Golf Digest with Dwayne Wade and David Spade prior to Tuesday’s crash.
Earlier Tuesday, Spade posted a photo on social media thanking Woods for a golf lesson.
Golf lesson with this guy today. And you know what? He’s not bad… He picks things up very quickly. Good listener pic.twitter.com/KinEAGcEKU
— David Spade (@DavidSpade) February 23, 2021
“Golf lesson with this guy today. And you know what? He’s not bad… He picks things up very quickly. Good listener”, Spade wrote.
Woods has been recovering from a fifth microdiscectomy surgery on his back with hopes of playing professionally later this year.
PGA issued the following statement: “We have been made aware of Tiger Woods’ car accident today. 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.”
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 sponsorship, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months.
Investigators say it may be days if not weeks before an official cause of the crash is released.
(Copyright 2021 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.)