Tiger 'lucky to be alive'

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 25 Feb 2021

Tiger Woods was recovering in a hospital after surgery for serious leg injuries sustained in a car crash that law enforcement officials said he was lucky to survive.

The 45-year-old golf great was driving in a Los Angeles suburb on a road notorious for fatal accidents when his car crashed, rolling several times.

"He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room," his representatives said.

In the same statement, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center chief medical officer Anish Mahajan said Woods underwent surgery to repair "significant orthopedic injuries" to his lower right leg and ankle.

This included the insertion of a rod into his tibia and the use of "a combination of screws and pins" to stabilize his foot and ankle."

Woods did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the early-morning incident, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

No other vehicles or passengers were involved in the crash, which occurred on a steep stretch of road known as an accident "hotspot," where Woods was traveling at "a greater speed than normal," the sheriff added.

"Apparently the first contact was with the center median, and from there [the car] crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit the curb, hit a tree, and there was several rollovers during that process," said Villanueva.

He did not say what caused the crash.

The car ended up several hundred feet from the initial impact, lying on its side on a patch of grass some distance off the road.

Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first officer to arrive at the scene, said it was "very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive."

Gonzalez found Woods trapped in his vehicle but conscious.

Firefighters and paramedics extricated Woods from the wreckage of his SUV and transported him with a neck collar and backboard to a local hospital.

Woods, the winner of 15 Major championships, recently underwent his fifth back surgery that made him a doubt for the US Masters in April.

He was in the Los Angeles area for his annual Genesis Invitational tournament at the Riviera Country Club, and was driving a courtesy car on the morning of the crash.

In late 2009, Woods became engulfed in a scandal that led to his divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren, after he smashed his car into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his luxury Florida home.

In May 2017, he was arrested near his home for being asleep at the wheel of his car in a traffic lane. Woods said he had taken prescription drugs and pleaded guilty to reckless driving. But he returned to win the Masters in 2019.

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