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Tiger Woods Undergoes Surgery After Rollover Vehicle Accident

A vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods along a road in the Rancho Palos Verdes section of Los Angeles County on Tuesday. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his agent said.

Updated at 7:21 p.m. ET

Legendary golfer Tiger Woods underwent surgery after suffering multiple leg injuries during a dramatic traffic accident Tuesday morning in Los Angeles County, according to his agent.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a news conference that the solo-vehicle crash occurred before 7:12 a.m. local time, adding that the golfer's car sustained major damage.

Villanueva described the sequence of events that ended with Woods' vehicle traveling several hundred feet from the center divider to the side of the road in the brush.

"Apparently, the first contact was with the center median and from there crossed into the opposing lane of traffic," the sheriff said. Woods then "hit the curb, hit a tree, and there were several rollovers during that process."

According to Villanueva, the air bags deployed.

"The front end was totally destroyed. The bumpers, everything was destroyed. ... 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."

There were no skid marks indicating that Woods tried to brake before hitting the center lane divider. And judging by the distance that the 2021 Genesis SUV traveled, Villanueva said, it appears Woods was driving at a "greater speed than normal."

"However," he said, "because it is downhill ... and it also curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents."

Villanueva added that a traffic investigation will be spearheaded by the Lomita station and could take up to several weeks to complete.

Earlier reports indicated that Woods was extricated from the vehicle using the "jaws of life," but Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said emergency responders used a pry bar and an ax to remove Woods from the vehicle.

Osby said the golfer was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in "stable condition with serious injuries." The hospital is the nearest trauma center in the area.

Villanueva said no evidence indicated Woods was intoxicated or otherwise impaired at the scene. Subsequently, he explained, "there was no effort to draw blood."

The first sheriff's deputy to arrive, Carlos Gonzalez, said Woods was conscious, "calm and lucid."

Woods "suffered multiple leg injuries," his agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a statement to NPR.

Woods, 45, was alone in the vehicle when it crashed between Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.

Aerial footage of the scene aired by MSNBC showed a badly damaged vehicle flipped on its side, with its hood bent back and its back smashed.

Woods was host of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament over the weekend at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He remained in Los Angeles for a two-day shoot for Golf Digest/GolfTV, according to the magazine.

He has undergone a series of back surgeries, most recently a microdiscectomy following the PNC Championship in December, the last tournament he played. It was Woods' fifth back surgery, according to Golf Digest.

During an interview Sunday on CBS, Woods was asked whether he would return to play by the time of the 2021 Masters this April. "God, I hope so," Woods said, but made no prediction.

Fellow athletes expressed shock and concern after learning of the collision.

"Man, I just hope he's all right," professional golfer Justin Thomas told reporters. "Just worried for his kids, you know — I'm sure they're struggling."

Former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez tweeted, "Praying for my brother @TigerWoods as we all anxiously await more news." Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit



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