BY HAYLEY SMITH AND RICHARD WINTON
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
LOS ANGELES – Tiger Woods underwent “a long surgical procedure” on his leg, foot and ankle after being seriously injured in a rollover accident in Rancho Palos Verdes on Tuesday.
Doctors had to insert a rod into his leg and placed screws into his foot and ankle, according to a statement posted to Twitter, which described Woods as “awake, responsive and recovering.”
Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where Woods was treated, described “comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones,” and said trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of Woods’ leg also required “surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.”
It is unclear how long Woods will remain in the hospital or how his condition might impact his golf comeback.
Woods was the sole occupant of a 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV that was traveling north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when he crashed just after 7 a.m., authorities said.
The vehicle sustained major damage, and Woods had to be extricated from the wreckage by personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was traveling at a “relatively greater speed than normal” descending down a hill, noting that the area “has a high frequency of accidents.”
The sheriff said that there were no skid marks or signs of braking and that the golfer’s vehicle hit the center divider, a curb and a tree in the rollover crash.
Villanueva said Tuesday there was no evidence Woods was impaired at the scene.
Aerial images of the scene showed Woods’ vehicle lying about 30 yards off the road on its side.
The wooden “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates” sign that had been in the median strip was obliterated. There was a license plate and fluid on the southbound side of the road, and Woods’ SUV narrowly missed a telephone pole as it careened up the hillside.
The PGA star was in Los Angeles as the host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, a golf tournament that concluded on Feb. 21.
Recent back surgery
He did not play in the event, as he was recovering from his fifth back surgery, but told CBS announcer Jim Nantz in an interview during the final round that he hoped to play in the Masters in April.
“God, I hope so. I’ve got to get there first,” Woods said in the interview. “A lot of it is based on my surgeons and doctors and therapist and making sure I do it correctly. This is the only back I’ve got; I don’t have much more wiggle room left.”
Woods stayed in Los Angeles County after the Genesis Invitational to participate in a twoday content shoot with Golf Digest/GolfTV.
Although he did not hit balls or play any holes on Feb. 22, a smiling Woods was with retired NBA star Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade — both of whom documented it on social media — at Rolling Hills Country Club. Part of the shoot involved Woods giving lessons on the course to celebrities.
Curvy boulevard stretch
A source familiar with the investigation said Woods was staying at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and had left there early Tuesday to head to the Rolling Hills Country Club, about 20 minutes away, for filming.
Golf Digest confirmed that Woods was on his way back to the country club for an additional photo and video shoot when the crash occurred.
The crash occurred on a curvy, steep stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard, a major road that cuts through the Palos Verdes Peninsula where signs warn trucks to use lower gears when traveling downhill.
Neighbors say the area has been the scene of many accidents over the years.
Investigators were trying to determine whether any other vehicles were on the road at the time and might have played a role in the crash. Data can also be extracted from the vehicle’s computer system, officials said.