Tiger Woods had surgery to repair open fractures of his right leg and ankle following a single-car accident in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, the chief medical officer of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said via twitter.
A rod was inserted into the upper and lower portions of the right tibia and fibula bones to stabilize the leg, while a combination of screws and pins were inserted in the foot and ankle.
“Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that was treated during emergency surgery by orthopedic trauma specialists,” Dr. Anish Mahajan said in a statement.
In addition to the severe leg and ankle injuries, Woods also suffered “trauma to the muscles and soft tissue of the leg [that] required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling,” the doctor added.
One of the most famous and highest-earning athletes in the world, Woods was removed from the driver’s seat and taken out through the front windshield of the flipped car—a 2021 Genesis mid-sized SUV—and transported immediately to the nearby trauma center, where he underwent multiple hours of surgery.
The Los Angeles County fire and sheriff’s departments responded to a call from a neighbor who heard the crash at 7:12 a.m.
The injuries at the time of the accident were not life-threatening, said L.A. fire chief Daryl Osby, although at 45 those injuries may certainly end his legendary golf career. Osby described Woods as being “in stable condition with serious injuries” as he was taken to the hospital, adding, “It was a rollover accident and Tiger was trapped in the vehicle.”
He added there was no indication of impairment at the time of the crash, but said that determination would be subject to an ongoing investigation of the incident. Woods was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, which occurred on a windy road near the Pacific coast.
Woods went off the road and down an embankment, the vehicle rolling over as it descended, and he was upright in the driver’s seat when he was found by sheriff’s deputies.
Emergency personnel used a pry bar and axe to break through the windshield to remove Woods, who was conscious and able to identify himself. Woods was placed in a neck brace and on a board to isolate him. When asked if Woods could stand, L.A. County sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “That was not an option.”
“He’s currently awake and recovering in his hospital room,” the twitter statement also read.
Over his storied career, Woods has made more than $120 million in prize money, and many multiples of that from endorsements, including long-standing relationships with Nike, Bridgestone and Upper Deck. Last year, he was No. 8 on Forbes Magazine’s highest-paid athletes list, which pegged his career endorsement earnings at more than $1.5 billion.
Woods has recently expanded his business interests to include course design. His first public course opened in Missouri last year.
Nike said in a statement that it was following the news and that “our thoughts and heart are with him and his family at this time.” EA Sports, which used to publish its golf video game under Woods’ name, said similar in a Twitter post.
Tiger’s career has been disrupted in the past by off-course incidents. In 2009, the car he was driving struck a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida home following an argument with his then-wife. He was issued a careless driving citation, and the event is better remembered today for as the incident that eventually led to his public admissions of infidelity.
Woods has also dealt with a number of injuries and many surgeries. In May 2017, during recovery from one of those surgeries, he was arrested in Florida after police found him asleep at the wheel of his car on the side of the road. He had painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs in his system, and later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
Woods has won 15 major titles, three shy of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time mark. He last played a tour event at the Masters in November.
(This story has been updated with information from the L.A. County fire and sheriff’s departments, and statements from Nike and EA Sports, as well as with details of Woods’ career and endorsements.)