APTOPIX Tiger Woods Vehicle Crash
A vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods along a road in the Rancho Palos Verdes section of Los Angeles on Tuesday. Photo: KABC-TV via AP

Tiger Woods seriously injured in California car crash


Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery.

Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out.

The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that "gave him a cushion to survive the crash," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving.

The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff's Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there.

"I will say that it's very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive," Gonzalez said.

Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade.

According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club.

Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019.

He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport.

The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event.

Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time.

He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter.

During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, "God, I hope so." He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities.

He was not sure when he would play again.

Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery.

"I'm sick to my stomach," Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. "It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he's all right."

Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff's investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon.

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.

Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Looking at that wreckage, he's lucky to be alive. Never understand why these uber-rich celebrities don't hire full-time drivers and he sure seems to need one based on his history. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The legs are the engine of every golfer. Recent back operation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Never understand why these uber-rich celebrities don't hire full-time drivers

Not everyone enjoys being driven around, neither having meals cooked by strangers at home.

I am not uber-rich, but even if I was that wouldnt change my daily commute here in Tokyo in total privacy driving my cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

On another note, this incident will be a hell of a marketing booster for Hyundai, from what I read this SUV Genesis saved the guy's life!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

On another note, this incident will be a hell of a marketing booster for Hyundai, from what I read this SUV Genesis saved the guy's life!

Depending on why the car left the road in the first place; yes it will if the fault lies with the driver but if the car was at fault then........................................

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Praying for a successful surgery and that he will be able to fully recover amd continue his great comeback. My high school used to play against Tiger's Western High School in golf so I have followed him closely and rooted for Tiger through turbulent times.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Trouble follows Tiger Woods.

His wreck years ago of his Escalade among his accidents and indiscretion of numerous admitted affairs and soliciting prostitutes while married to Elin Nordegren, his DUI a few years ago, to this smash up all show a pattern of behavior which is undesirable.

Still, he is the most popular golfer in the world. I don't care for him or golf, but it does show how the public can overlook negative traits for gifted abilities and privilege.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hope he has a speedy recovery.

Unintended pun?!

It's one thing or another with this guy. If it's not a scorned wife coming at you with a gold club, it's drugs and alcohol. And blondes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Never understand why these uber-rich celebrities don't hire full-time drivers 

Because they like to drive. Because they prefer the privacy and freedom of being alone in the car. Especially for very famous people, driving is one of the few ways they can get out without being mobbed and feel like an ordinary person.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This guy... tragic hero... but if he gets to play again he has to take care of himself and be humble.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

this guy needs to practice his driving more, it must be said

0 ( +2 / -2 )

TW’s drives better on the golf course than off it.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Very sad news.

I hope he is able to recover and come through this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


My high school used to play against Tiger's Western High School.

That's so cool if you got see him play as high schooler.

What high school did you attend? Pasadena myself. I was ahead of Tiger but have seen him play two times as pro in my life and have signed Nike SQ headcovers and gloves from the Phoenix in Miyazaki. I cherish the photos we got to take together in Miyazaki. Tiger was very very cool to me as a fan and joked around with me. I volunteered as a translator and got to be a part of the tournament and I would do again anytime.

I have followed Tiger since his Junior World Championships that we won six times. I went on to move to Massachusetts with my family. Then to Virginia and finished top ten in the Eastern amateur a couple times.

I tried to qualify for a scholarship to go the pro route, but alas I was not good enough for the Golf gods.

Just play now to break 75 on my local tracks and from the middle tees now. LOL. Hope Tiger recovers. I was upset when I woke up and heard this. Just sick to my stomach. He has worked so hard to get back. With these extensive back inquiries and now legs? Analyst? TV? Senior tour? He is tough. But these leg inquires may end his career depending on severity. Very unfortunate accident. Field sobriety tests were not issued cause the officer said he was lucid and not impaired.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whether this make of car protected him, which is a nice idea, or damaged his legs more than another make of car would have, is impossible to say just yet.

After a couple of spells in hospital, and despite the best efforts of the wonderful staff, I kind of grew allergic to the whole concept of going back in for anything.

Gotta be brave again, Tiger. This one's gonna hurt for a while longer now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From the explanation of the crash, it sounds like he's lucky he's still alive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Prayers for speedy recovery. A reflection of how fragile our lives are and that no matter what we own, it will be of no use when our time comes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's one thing or another with this guy. If it's not a scorned wife coming at you with a gold club, it's drugs and alcohol. And blondes.

Those are many years apart (2017 and 2009, that's already more than a decade ago), and there was no alcohol involved (and the drugs were medicine). Did ya miss the stuff in the years between? But yes about the blondes

His recovery plus rehab is expected to take a year. So that's another lost year for him (though he's already expected to lose several months this year recovering from another back surgery)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If any of you posters know this location or ever driven through Rancho Palos Verdes Estate not even the most skillful driver would have survived that turn. First off the area is very hilly and most views are ocean views. If you are coming down the hill and get distracted by perhaps a deer or anything you can lose it. You have to "CREEP down". If not you can be off road

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Whether this make of car protected him, which is a nice idea, or damaged his legs more than another make of car would have, is impossible to say just yet.

I can assure the Bentley Genesis and the safety equipment in tis vehicle as well the seat Belt saved his life. Any other vehicle other Bentley or Volvo. Seat Belt or not he is gone today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

assure you*

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looking at the reports of his injuries his leg has multiple fractures and a busted ankle. Metal rod, pins, and screws inserted. Lucky if he can even walk again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites