Woods remains hospitalized in Los Angeles after 'long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle' due to rollover incident
Tiger Woods was "awake, responsive and recovering" Wednesday after surgery in a Los Angeles-area hospital to treat his injuries from a single-vehicle rollover crash one day earlier near suburban Rancho Palos Verdes, according to a statement released on his Twitter account.
Woods underwent "a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle" at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, according to the statement.
Dr. Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer and interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA, said: "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."
No timeline for hospitalization and eventual rehabilitation was offered, though given the extent of the injuries, medical experts projected it to be many months for recovery. Woods already had been trying to regain his health after a fifth back surgery a couple of months earlier, and he was hoping to return for the Masters in April.
The incident remains under investigation, but Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods will not be criminally charged, calling the crash "an accident," the Los Angeles Times reported late Wednesday.
The story prompted extended coverage on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and ESPN, and it led the network news Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning and again Wednesday evening.
Support and encouragement for Woods poured in from his colleagues on the PGA Tour, as well as from athletes in other sports, entertainers, politicians and recreational golfers.
The news hit especially hard in Bradenton, Fla., where the world's top golfers were preparing for this week's WGC Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Club. Many players were visibly shaken as they were asked to respond to the news.
"He's not Superman," Rory McIlroy said. "He's a human being, at the end of the day. And he's already been through so much. At this stage, I think everyone should just be grateful that he's here, that he's alive, that his kids haven't lost their dad. That's the most important thing. Golf is so far from the equation right now. It's not even on the map, at this point."
According to a statement released on Twitter by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Woods, 45, was driving a vehicle that rolled over at approximately 7:12 a.m. PST Tuesday in a suburban area near the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, west of Los Angeles. The vehicle was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard, a four-lane road, near the intersection with Blackhorse Road, when it crossed the median and burst through a road sign. There was no evidence of skid marks before the vehicle crossed the oncoming lanes of traffic, rolled "several" times and sustained major damage, according to investigators. Images of the crash scene appeared on news outlets and circulated on social media.
BREAKING: Tiger Woods transported to hospital with injuries following vehicle crash with "major damage," LA County Sheriff's Dept. says. pic.twitter.com/hxcGYAig8D
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 23, 2021
After a neighbor called 911 at 7:12 a.m., law enforcement and other first-responders arrived on the scene six minutes later, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said. There was no evidence of driver impairment, though "greater speed than normal" likely was a factor in the crash, investigators said, noting that the posted speed limit is 45 mph. Woods was conscious throughout the rescue and identified himself to first-responders, officials said.
Rescue personnel said that Woods was stabilized in a head restraint and on a backboard via before being transported via ambulance to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery.
According to video shot by Los Angeles TV stations, which scrambled helicopters to the scene west of downtown, the vehicle, identified as a 2021 Genesis GV80 model, was a silver-colored luxury SUV with "Genesis Invitational" insignia on the door. The vehicle was heavily damaged and resting on its driver's side in grassy terrain. The front windshield was removed, and the airbags had deployed. Local media reported that Woods was extricated from the vehicle through the front opening. A heavy-duty wrecker equipped with a boom crane arrived on the scene to retrieve the vehicle so that it could be loaded onto a flatbed truck as investigators worked the scene.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who responded to the call and spoke with Woods before rescue personnel arrived, said at a news conference that Woods "was not able to stand on his own power" but appeared to be "calm and lucid" and had been wearing a seatbelt, which the deputy credited with having saved Woods' life.
"This also speaks to the marvel of modern automobiles," Gonzalez said, "and how they are much safer than they've ever been."
Gonzalez said he was wearing his body camera and, per agency policy, the recording device had been activated as he approached the crash scene.
Woods hosted the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational last week at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, not far from the accident scene. The tournament benefitted Woods' TGR Foundation. On Sunday, he presented winner Max Homa with the trophy.
Woods was scheduled to have spent Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GolfTV, with which he has an endorsement deal.
According to Golf Digest, which also is owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was to have involved on-course lessons for celebrities, such as comedian Davie Spade and former NBA star Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club in Rolling Hills Estates.
Woods has not competed in an official PGA Tour event since mid-November, when he tied for 38th at the Masters. He teamed with his 11-year-old son, Charlie, in the exhibition PNC Championship in late December. Woods was eligible for this week's WGC Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., but did not participate because he still was recovering from recent back surgery.
Woods remained tied with the late Sam Snead for the most career victories on the PGA Tour, at 82. Woods' 15 major championships rank second only to Jack Nicklaus' 18.
Woods has been involved in other high-profile incidents regarding automobiles.
On Nov. 27, 2009, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Woods slammed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree near his home in the Isleworth community in Windermere, Fla., near Orlando. The incident began an unraveling of events that led to public disclosure of numerous extramarital affairs and the breakup of his marriage with Elin Nordegren, a former swimsuit model and the mother of his two children.
On May 29, 2017, Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI when he was found asleep behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz that was stopped, with the engine running, on a roadway not far from his home in Jupiter, Fla. Woods, who recently had undergone spinal-fusion surgery, his fourth back operation, was found to have had painkillers, sleep-aid drugs and an active ingredient found in marijuana in his system. He reached a plea deal and completed the terms of a diversion program.
After that incident, Woods staged a remarkable comeback that was capped by his 2019 Masters victory, his fifth green jacket.
Woods has not won since Oct. 28, 2019, at the Zozo Championship in Japan. He has trimmed his tournament schedule in recent years because of injuries.
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