Tiger Woods, the golf star and former prodigy who is tied for the most PGA Tour wins in history, was injured in a solo car crash near Los Angeles after his SUV rolled over in steep terrain.
At about 7:12 a.m. local time, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department responded to a single vehicle crash on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, the agency said in a statement.
First responders had to extricate Woods from a Genesis GV80 using an ax and other tools after the rollover.
“The vehicle sustained major damage,” the department said. “The driver and sole occupant was identified as PGA golfer, Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods.”
After firefighters and paramedics removed Woods from the vehicle, he was transported to a local hospital to treat his injuries.
Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg, said the 45-year-old suffered “multiple leg injuries.”
“He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support,” Steinberg said.
Woods was traveling on a winding, downhill road that has been the scene of frequent accidents, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
There are indications that the golfer was traveling at a “relatively greater speed than normal,” he said.
Woods’s car hit a sign and a tree before coming to a stop in the brush. There was no evidence he was impaired and blood wasn’t drawn to determine if he was, Villanueva said.
A neighbor reported the accident. Woods was conscious when first responders arrived.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who responded to the scene, said he asked Woods his name and when the athlete identified himself, “at that moment, I immediately recognized him.”
The deputy said Woods was wearing a seatbelt and that airbags had deployed. He wasn’t able to stand on his own.
“It’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” he said.
Genesis, Hyundai Motor Co.’s luxury division, is the sponsor of the PGA Tour tournament where Woods served as a host. The event was held last week in Los Angeles at the Riviera Country Club.
“This morning, Genesis was saddened to learn that Tiger Woods had been in an accident in a GV80,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Tiger and his family at this time.”
Citing law-enforcement sources, the Los Angeles Times said Woods crossed the center divider after losing control of the SUV.
The vehicle rolled over multiple times, and Woods had to be removed through the windshield, the Times reported. The golfer was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance.
Since turning pro in 1996, Woods has been one of the most successful golfers in history, winning some 106 tournaments, including 15 of the majors.
He’s long been a spokesman for Nike Inc. and served as a inspiration to young players, particularly given his Black, Asian and Native American background.
The athlete was recovering from recent back surgery.
Woods’s life has also had its share of upheaval and scandal, including a 2009 car accident in Florida and another 2017 arrest after being found passed out behind the wheel.
He was the subject of a two-part documentary that aired on HBO last month.
“We are following the news around Tiger and our thoughts and heart are with him and his family at this time,” Nike said in a statement.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan also said he was monitoring the situation.
“We are awaiting further information when he comes out of surgery,” he said. “On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”
Before the crash, Woods was participating in a two-day shoot for Golf Digest/GOLFTV, according to the publication.
It involved Woods giving golf lessons to celebrities, such as Dwyane Wade and David Spade, at Rolling Hills Country Club.
The first day of the shoot was Monday, Golf Digest said. Woods never arrived at the course for the second day.