American golfer Tiger Woods is in hospital with serious leg injuries after a vehicle he was driving went off the road and rolled over several times in a Los Angeles suburb on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference, the cause of the crash was still under investigation, but that Woods was travelling at a “relatively greater speed than normal”.
The PGA tour golfer was the sole occupant of the vehicle when it crashed at 7:12am local time (15:12 GMT), the sheriff’s office said.
He was wearing a seat belt and was conscious when authorities arrived on the scene.
“Tiger Woods was trapped inside the vehicle,” LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said during the news conference.
“Our firefighters and firefighter paramedics used the pry bar … and an axe to pry parts of the vehicle away from him so they were able to safely extricate him from the vehicle,” Osby said.
Woods then was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.
Woods was undergoing surgery for “multiple leg injuries”, his agent Mark Steinberg said in a statement to Golf Digest earlier on Tuesday.
At the press conference, Los Angeles authorities did not provide updated information on his condition but said Woods remained in hospital in a “serious condition”.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) February 23, 2021
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to get to the wreck, said crashes and speeding were common in the area where Woods’ vehicle crashed.
“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said.
Athletes and fellow golfers expressed concern for Woods and sent him their regards throughout the day.
“I am sick to my stomach. It hurts to see one of your … closest friends get in an accident and I just hope he’s alright,” Justin Thomas said at a news conference.
“We are all pulling for you, Tiger,” Phil Mickelson said on Twitter.
We are all pulling for you, Tiger. We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery.
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) February 23, 2021
Woods, 45, attended the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational in Pacific Palisades, California, at the weekend, but he did not compete in the tournament because he is recovering from recent back surgery.
“I’m feeling fine, little bit stiff,” Woods told the CBS network during the broadcast of the tournament, saying he was still in rehabilitation.
Woods had remained in California after the tournament to film celebrity golf lessons with comedian David Spade and former NBA player Dwayne Wade, The Associated Press news agency reported.
Woods is a 15-time PGA champion who shares the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories with the late American professional golfer Sam Snead.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement on Tuesday the tour was awaiting further information when Woods comes out of surgery.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers,” Monahan said.