The sports world received stunning news Tuesday when Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer in history — and among the top all-time athletes — was involved in a car crash.
The injuries Woods sustained in the single-car crash, while not life-threatening, have required extensive and intensive surgery. It’s uncertain whether they are career-ending. No others were injured in the crash; Woods was the lone occupant of his vehicle.
Woods’ injury prompted a flood of well wishes and prayers, not only from golfers and athletes, but politicians, actors and celebrities of all kinds from across the world — to be expected for one of the most beloved golfers of all time.
Here’s everything you need to know about Woods’ crash, including the severity of his injury, the cause of his crash and more.
What happened to Tiger Woods?
Woods was injured in a single-car rollover collision that occurred at roughly 7:12 a.m. PT. The crash took place as he traveled north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road in Los Angeles. It occurred at the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, roughly 30 miles south of downtown LA.
Steven Gregory, an iHeartRadio correspondent, was the first to break the news at 11:07 a.m. PT; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Woods was the injured person in a 11:28 a.m. PT news release, adding that the Los Angeles County’s Lomita Station responded to the scene.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters in a Tuesday news conference that responders arrived at the scene at roughly 7:18 a.m. PT. Sheriff’s deputy Carlos Gonzalez was the first there. They called the Los Angeles County Fire Department at 7:22 a.m. PT to help extricate Woods from his vehicle. Gonzalez, in the same news conference, said he determined it was best to wait until more responders arrived instead of trying to remove Woods from the car.
The fire department showed up at 7:28 a.m. PT, removing Woods from the car. LA Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby — also a part of the Tuesday news conference — said Woods’ injuries were considered “trauma level” because his vehicle rolled several times in the crash. Because of that, responders determined to transfer him to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, the nearest hospital with a trauma center.
Woods was transported there via ambulance, where he underwent surgery.
What is Tiger Woods’ injury?
Tiger Woods’ official Twitter account provided an update to the golf star’s status early Wednesday, saying he had a “long surgical procedure” and suffered “significant orthopaedic injuries to his lower right extremity.”
Per the release, Woods had comminuted open fractures to both his upper and lower portion of his fibula and tibia. They were stabilized with a rod inserted into the tibia; other injuries to his foot and ankle were stabilized with screws and pins. Doctors also were forced to relieve pressure to his muscles and soft tissue.
Daniel Miller of the Los Angeles Times — citing someone with knowledge of Woods’ treatment — originally reported the golf star suffered a shattered ankle and two fractures, one of them a compound fracture.
Latest on Tiger Woods: His injuries included a shattered ankle and two leg fractures, one of which was compound, according to a source familiar with his treatment. “Lucky to be alive,” the L.A. County sheriff says. From @latimes team covering the crash: https://t.co/3sZTsNMmML
— Daniel Miller (@DanielNMiller) February 23, 2021
Woods was reportedly in serious but stable condition when he arrived at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry reported late Tuesday that doctors’ first concern was stabilizing Woods’ injuries, both from an orthopaedic and vascular standpoint. Thiry, citing sources close to the situation, added that Woods has a “long road to recovery” and several surgeries in his future.
What caused Tiger Woods’ car crash?
Villanueva said Woods’ vehicle was traveling at “relatively greater speed than normal” northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard. The section of the road where he crashed — which is notably steep and curvy — has a speed limit of 45 mph.
Villanueva said Woods’ vehicle appeared to make contact with the dividing median, destroying a wooden sign that reads, “Welcome to Rolling Hill Estates.” It then crossed two southbound lanes, at which point it hit a curb and trees — narrowly missing a telephone pole — before rolling several times up an embankment. The car came to a rest on its side roughly 30 yards off the side of the road. There were no skid marks or signs of braking from the crash site.
Weather is not considered a factor in the crash. Villanueva also said responders noticed “no signs of impairment” from Woods at the site, and that doctors hadn’t drawn blood from him to determine whether he had alcohol or drugs in his system.
Regardless, Villanueva said there will be an investigation into Woods’ crash — which could take “days to several weeks” — because it resulted in injuries.
What kind of car was Tiger Woods driving?
Woods was driving a 2021 Hyundai Genesis GV80, a mid-size SUV. He was provided the vehicle by the Genesis Invitational, as evidenced by tournament logos on the side of the vehicle. Tiger hosted the tournament over the weekend at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. — a seaside community in western LA. The Associated Press reported it’s not uncommon for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after events.
Villanueva told reporters the front of the SUV was “destroyed” as a result of the crash, but that the interior remained intact. Had Woods not been wearing his seatbelt, Villanueva said, it’s likely his crash would have been fatal.
“The interior, the cabinet of the vehicle was more or less intact,” Villanueva said. “The front end was totally destroyed, the bumpers, everything totally destroyed, airbags deployed, all of that. However, thankfully the interior was more or less intact, which kind of gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would have been a fatal crash.”
Prior to his news conference, the sheriff told the Los Angeles Times that Woods was “lucky to be alive.”
Did first responders use the jaws of life?
The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Twitter account incorrectly stated that first responders used jaws of life to remove Woods from his vehicle. Osby later clarified they used an axe to break through the windshield of the vehicle and a pry bar to remove the seating from around Woods’ legs. Once they had removed Woods from the vehicle through the windshield, they placed him on a backboard and transported him to the trauma center via ambulance.
Why was Tiger Woods in Los Angeles?
Woods remained in Los Angeles following the 2021 Genesis Invitational to take part in a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest and GOLFTV. The shoot included Woods giving celebrities golf lessons at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
NBA star Dwyane Wade and actor/comedian David Spade both posted snippets of their sessions with Woods to social media:
Reports indicated Woods was traveling to meet Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert for the Tuesday shoot when the crash occurred. He was reportedly late, which would explain why he was speeding at the time of his crash.