Tiger Woods is “awake and responsive” after successfully undergoing a “long surgical procedure” on his right leg and ankle following a single-car crash near Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Woods, who lives in Jupiter, Florida, was in town to host the Genesis Invitational golf event held at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. from Feb. 15-Feb. 21. He also met with celebrities for a promotional event with Golf Digest.
The iconic golfer had just left his hotel after 7 a.m. local time, and was speeding in his Genesis 80 sports utility vehicle when he lost control of the SUV at a curve in the road.
The vehicle crossed a divider and smashed into trees before rolling over multiple times and coming to rest on its side in a ditch near Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Woods, who was conscious and calm, was cut out of the vehicle through the windshield and transported by ambulance to the nearby Harbor – UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to repair multiple open fractures in his lower right leg.
Surgeons stabilized the bones in his right lower leg and ankle with pins and rods.
His team released a statement on Wednesday on Twitter, which read:
“We thank everyone for the overwhelming support and messages during this tough time… He has undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital.”
There was also a detailed statement from his physician, Dr. Anish Mahajan, who wrote:
“Mr Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopedic 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.”
According to the statement, Woods, 45, is “currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room”.
The accident comes just two months after he underwent a fifth back surgery in December, and he was hoping to be fit enough to play at the Masters Tournament in April.
It’s not the first time Tiger has been involved in a serious car accident – he crashed an SUV into a tree in Florida in 2009 as he drove away from a marital dispute with his then-wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren.
Following news of the crash on Tuesday, Woods’ ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn was among those sending her prayers. “Praying for TW right now,” she tweeted.
Rachel Uchitel – with whom the golfer had a brief fling which triggered the end of his marriage to Nordegren – revealed she was “shaken” by the incident, and wondered how it would affect his career in the long run.
“He’s an athlete and his legs are essential to his sport and to him being who he is and he’s already had trouble with his body up until this point,” she told the New York Post. “He didn’t need any more injuries.”
Hours before the crash, actress Jada Pinkett Smith took to Instagram to share a photo of herself and Woods after playing a round of golf the day prior.
She captioned the image:
“Guess who I had the most awesome golf day with yesterdayyyyyy??? Yes! The magnificent @tigerwoods!!!! Yes … dreams come true… I can’t wait for you to see my golf journey with Tiger. Stay tuned! @golftv @golfdigest.”
Golf great Jack Nicklaus also shared his thoughts, writing he is “deeply concerned” for Tiger following the accident and he offered up “heartfelt support and prayers”.
Retired sports stars Alex Rodriguez and Michael Phelps also took to social media to wish Woods well.