Tiger Woods suffered multiple leg injuries and went into surgery after crashing his car in Los Angeles County on Tuesday morning, his agent and the authorities said.
Woods was talking and conscious when emergency workers arrived at the site of the crash just after 7 a.m., where Woods’s car had rolled off the road, Lt. Michael White of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told KCBS-TV, the local CBS affiliate. The police said they did not believe Woods’s injuries were life-threatening.
Mark Steinberg, Woods’s longtime agent, said in a statement around noon Pacific time that the golfer was “currently in surgery,” adding: “We thank you for your privacy and support.”
The crash happened about 7:12 a.m. on Tuesday near the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal city of about 42,000 people in Los Angeles County. Woods’s vehicle was traveling north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when it rolled over and crashed, the Sheriff’s Department said.
It was not immediately clear what had led to the crash. The road where Woods crashed is “very steep and easy for drivers to pick up speed,” White said, adding that Woods was driving downhill.
Woods suffered “compound fractures,” according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. The official said Woods had been driving a vehicle made by Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury division, and that he was taken to Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center.
Video from local television stations showed Woods’s vehicle on its side in an open, grassy area, with its hood crumpled and its windshield broken.
The Sheriff’s Office initially said Woods had been removed from the vehicle with a hydraulic spreader tool known as the “Jaws of Life,” but a Los Angeles County fire official told a local television station that the tools had not been used to extract Woods. The incident is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lomita station.
Woods, 45, has not played competitively since December and had his fifth back surgery in January, a procedure called a microdiscectomy, to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve. Last weekend, he hosted a PGA Tour event in Southern California, the Genesis Invitational.
Interviewed on the broadcast of that tournament, Woods said he had begun practicing, and he appeared at ease, smiling and joking with CBS announcers about his progress from the surgery. But he offered no timetable for his return to competitive golf.
He only said he had hoped to resume playing by the Masters Tournament, which is held in the first full week of April.
On Monday, at an event at the Rolling Hills Country Club near Los Angeles, pictures on social media showed Woods happily interacting with various celebrities, including the N.B.A. player Dwyane Wade. During the function, Woods gave players golf tips and limited instruction but was not swinging a golf club.
The Masters, the fabled tournament that Tiger Woods has conquered five times, is less than seven weeks away. But even before Tuesday’s wreck, it was far from clear whether Woods, who has been recovering from yet another back surgery, would be able to play at Augusta National Golf Club this year.
Asked on CBS on Sunday whether he would compete in Georgia in April, Woods replied: “God, I hope so. I’ve got to get there first.”
Woods announced on Jan. 19 that doctors had removed a pressurized disc fragment during what was his fifth back surgery. The procedure, a microdiscectomy, was familiar ground for Woods. He had undergone the procedure several times in recent years, but he said he would miss at least two tournaments.
The Masters, though, has remained central on Woods’s calendar. On Sunday, he said he was “feeling fine, a little bit stiff” and was awaiting another M.R.I. scan to evaluate his progress.
In the meantime, he said, he had been “still doing the mundane stuff that you have to do for rehab, the little things before you can start gravitating toward something a little more.”
Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that he was aware of the crash. “We are awaiting further information when he comes out of surgery,” Monahan said. “On behalf of the PGA Tour and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers.”
Woods tied for 38th place in November, when the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters was played. Although he shot a 10 on hole No. 12 during the final round, he birdied five of the last six holes.
“No matter how hard I try, things just don’t work the way they used to, and no matter how much I push and ask of this body, it just doesn’t work at times,” Woods said after that round.
Speaking this week, Woods conceded that surgeons may have only so many more ways to help him: “This is the only back I’ve got. I don’t have much more wiggle room there.”
Tiger Woods has been in a well-publicized car crash before.
In November of 2009, Woods crashed his S.U.V. into a fire hydrant outside his Florida home in the middle of the night. He was knocked unconscious in the crash and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance, where he was treated for minor facial injuries.
But the incident is remembered mostly for what happened next and the fallout for his career. There were numerous reports of Woods’s infidelities and an apology in which he admitted cheating on his wife. He lost numerous sponsors and stepped away from golf for months. Woods and Elin Nordegren eventually divorced.
Woods was also arrested in 2017 in Florida, after police found him asleep in his car on the side of a road at 3 a.m. with the engine running. Woods blamed the incident on the interaction of several prescription medicines, including Vicodin, and did not have any alcohol in his system. He eventually entered a diversion program for first-time D.U.I. offenders, and pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
Justin Thomas, a trusted confidant of Tiger Woods who frequently joins Woods for pretournament practice rounds, appeared stunned by the news of Woods’s accident on Tuesday.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Thomas said as he prepared for the Workday Championship, a PGA Tour event in Central Florida set to begin Thursday. “It hurts to see one of your closest friends get in an accident.”
Thomas said he had heard about Woods’s crash only minutes earlier.
“Man, I just hope he’s all right,” he said. “I’m just worried for his kids, I’m sure they’re struggling.”
Thomas and his father, Mike, were paired with Woods and his son, Charlie, during the PNC Championship, a father and son tournament in December. Woods also has a daughter, Sam.
It was not even two years ago that Tiger Woods pulled off a feat that people long wondered about: He broke his decade-long drought in major championships with a stirring victory at the Masters.
By that Sunday in April 2019, it had been a decade of misery for Woods. His body, then 43 years old, was showing its ache and wear. A November 2009 car crash transformed Woods and his marriage, which ended not long after, into tabloid fodder. He was later accused of driving under the influence and struggled to control the pain that came with one operation after another.
His fifth green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club, secured with a one-stroke win in 2019, was a particularly grand comeback for a player who had long before been lionized. He was the second-oldest player to win the Masters, the tournament where he was first a major champion in 1997.
He did not fare as well at the year’s other majors, missing the cut at the P.G.A. Championship and the British Open, though he finished in a tie for 21st at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. But for Woods, what had happened at Augusta remained a personal triumph with few, if any, rivals.
“I still get chills just thinking about it,” Woods said in November 2020, when the Masters was last played because of the pandemic. At the week’s traditional dinner of Masters champions, held behind closed doors and limited to Augusta National’s chairman and former tournament winners, Woods was similarly emotional.
“He said he was on the way to the golf course, and he had to stop because he had tears in his eyes and pause for a little while in the road because a lot of memories were going through his mind very quickly,” said Gary Player, a three-time winner of the Masters.
“Tiger was very emotional,” Jack Nicklaus, who won the Masters six times, added. “I’ve never seen Tiger that way.”