Los Angeles Sheriffs say they are not considering bringing charges against Tiger Woods over the near fatal crash which shattered his right leg yesterday and have insisted he was sober despite not performing any drug or alcohol tests on him.
Speaking during a Q&A on Facebook on Wednesday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said: ‘There was no evidence of any impairment whatsoever.
‘He was lucid, no odor of alcohol, no evidence of any medication, narcotics or anything like that. That was not a concern so no field sobriety test and no drug expert needed to respond. This is what it is – an accident.’
Asked if he may face charges, Villanueva said: ‘No. A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements to it. This was purely an accident. ‘
He added that authorities planned to pull the car’s black box to find out more and that he was pulled out of a windshield.
Woods, 45, remains at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after undergoing extensive surgery to repair his right leg and ankle. He rolled the Genesis GV80 at 7.12am less than 15 minutes after speeding out of the Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes, where witnesses said he seemed ‘impatient’ and eager to get on the road.
He was on his way to the Rolling Hills Country Club, 10 miles away, where he was due to meet New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and L.A. Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert to film a show for GolfTV. They were due to meet at 7.30am and the drive ordinarily takes around 20 minutes.
The crash site is a known problem area, according to sheriffs who said on Tuesday they have seen people fly down the road at almost twice that speed.
The exact spot where he crash is at a point in the road where it widens and is downhill. The sheriffs said people tend to put their foot on the gas prematurely without factoring in that their speed will naturally increase.
Tiger Woods (pictured on Sunday) will not face criminal charges over the crash which shattered his right leg on Tuesday morning. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva (right) also said on Wednesday the golfer was neither drunk nor impaired
Woods is shown at approximately 7.05am driving in Rancho Palos Verdes in his Genesis GV80, seven minutes before the crash which shattered his legs
Police said the golfer was ‘lucky to be alive’ after he hit a raised central reservation while driving at high speed, smashed through a wooden street sign, splintered a tree, and then rolled his car several times
Police say Woods was travelling at high speed when he hit a raised central reservation, smashed through a wooden road sign, splintered a tree and then rolled his SUV off the wrong side of the road where it came to rest at the bottom of an embankment
The crash happened on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in LA on Tuesday morning. Woods was on his way to the Rolling Hills Country Club when he crashed
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg is shown arriving at the hospital on Tuesday night.
Woods was due to meet Charges quarterback Justin Herbert (center) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (right) at the Rolling Hills Country Club at 7.30am on Tuesday
There is a gravel runaway ramp after it to slow people down and there’s also a net in the central median to try to stop out-of-control cars from rolling over onto the other side of the road.
It’s unconfirmed what speed Tiger was traveling at or what exactly caused him to crash but he plowed through the central reservation, rolled several times and ended up on a grassy verge on the other side of the road.
TIGER WOODS CRASH
7am: Tiger leaves Terranea Resort looking agitated
7.05am: Road cameras pick him up driving within the speed limit
7.12am: Tiger crashes on Hawthorne Blv
Neighbor calls 911 reporting crash
7.18am: Firefighters and police arrive
7.30am: Time he was due to be at golf club
Initially, sheriffs said they had to use the jaws of life to pry him from his vehicle. They later confirmed that they didn’t, and that firefighters were able to get him out on their own but they said he was ‘lucky to be alive’.
Tiger was taken to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to undergo surgery to his legs. He suffered open fractures on his tibia and fibula – where the bone splinters into two or more pieces and comes through the skin – and had a rod inserted in his tibia, with his foot and ankle ‘stabilized with a combination of screws and pins’.
On Tuesday night, he was conscious, sitting up and responding to his loved ones. His girlfriend Erica Herman is with him at the hospital, as is his agent Mark Steinberg. It’s unclear when he will be released from the hospital, or if his children and ex-wife are there.
The crash occurred when Woods was driving at a ‘greater speed than normal,’ LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a press conference on Tuesday.
[The vehicle] crossed the center divider, to the point that it rested several hundred feet away so obviously that indicates they were going at a relatively — a greater speed than normal.
‘However, because it is downhill, it slopes and it also curves. That area has a high frequency of accidents. It’s not uncommon,’ he said.
He added that while the front end of the car was ‘totally destroyed’, the interior was ‘more or less intact’.
After the crash, a neighbor phoned 911.
Deputy Sheriff Carlos Gonzalez was first on the scene.
He told Today on Wednesday morning that he did not recognize the famous golfer when he arrived, and that he just saw ‘eyes’ when he peered through the window.
‘I don’t think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time. It could be a mixture of adrenaline, it could’ve been shock.
‘Again it was very quick, the moment that I arrived from the moment that he rolled over, so I don’t know if he had time to fully assess his injuries,’ he siad.
Woods was wearing his seatbelt. Initially, it was claimed by the sheriff’s department that Woods was pried from the wreckage by the jaws of life.
The fire department later clarified that they used an axe to break him free.
FANS’ CONCERN FOR ‘TIRED’ TIGER TWO DAYS BEFORE CRASH
The golfer, 45, sparked concern among viewers as he spoke to
He said he was ‘hopeful’ he could appear at Augusta, just 48 hours before the wreck on Tuesday that has put his playing career in jeopardy.
Woods is now ‘awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room’ after extensive surgery to place rods, pins and screws in his shattered right leg.
Tiger Woods looked exhausted in a TV interview days before his horror crash on Tuesday in which he shattered his ankle and fractured his leg
Speaking to CBS Sports host Jim Nantz on Sunday, Woods was asked about his recovery and if he could compete in the first major of the year in April.
He said: ‘God I hope so, I’ve got to get there first.
‘A lot of it is based on my surgeons, my doctors, my therapists, and making sure that I do it correctly because this is the only back I’ve got, so I don’t know how much wiggle room we’ve left here.’
Nantz then asked Woods if he intended to play a tournament before the Masters.
The 15-time Major champion replied: ‘I don’t know what the plan is.
‘The plan is to just go and get an MRI scan and to see if we are healed and then we can start progressing.’
His interview at the time raised concerns among fans and fellow golfers about Woods’ state of mind.
One tweeted: ‘Tiger Woods looked absolutely fried in that interview just now.
‘Bloated, dull looking face and sounded like he was speaking through a muffler. Honestly reckon this last surgery could be the end for him.’
Oliver Konteh, who is part of a TV crew filming show ‘Grown-ish’ at the five-star Terranea Resort where Woods was staying, said he saw the athlete get into his $50,000 Genesis GV80 SUV shortly before 7am as he headed to the Rolling Hills Country Club – where he was due to tee off with Drew Brees at 7.30am. He had been loaned the car by Genesis while hosting the PGA Genesis Invitational over the weekend.
Konteh said Woods was blocked for a short time by another vehicle that was unloading luggage, and by the time he left he looked ‘agitated and impatient’.
A front door camera then captured Woods driving at normal speed around 7.05am along Hawthorne Boulevard, around five miles south of the spot where he would later crash.
Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at the hospital, said Woods suffered open fractures of his tibia and fibula – where the bone splinters into two or more pieces and comes through the skin – and had a rod inserted in his tibia, with his foot and ankle ‘stabilized with a combination of screws and pins’.
Muscles surrounding the bones were cut to relieve swelling, Mahajan said, describing the injuries as ‘significant’.
Experts say he is facing a long road to recovery and was lucky that he didn’t have to have the right leg amputated.
Dr. Joseph Patterson, an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, said injuries like those sustained by Woods are among the most common seen in hospital emergency rooms.
Patterson didn’t treat Woods and wouldn’t comment specifically about the golfer’s injuries but said the risk of infection is extremely high for patients with open fractures.
‘Tissue can be exposed to bacteria, dirt and clothing. The outcomes can be a lot worse if that tissue gets infected, Patterson said.
‘As if his body hasn’t endured enough. I just hope he can get out of the hospital after recovery and he can still play with his kids and have a normal life,’ Jon Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Florida.
He did not say what Woods’ prognosis is, or whether he will be able to play golf again. Girlfriend Erica Herman is thought to be at the 15-time major winner’s bedside.
Police said Woods did not appear to be under the influence at the time of the crash but that blood tests will be carried out as part of an investigation due to last ‘weeks’.
Woods has been recovering from back surgery and taking a break from professional golf, though he was expected to return sometime later this year. It is not clear whether he was taking pain medication, though he has taken opiod medication after back surgery in the past which resulted in an addiction.
In 2017 he was arrested for DUI after police found him slumped in his car in Florida with five drugs in his system, including two two painkillers. He subsequently checked into rehab for painkiller addiction.
He was involved in another high-profile crash in 2009 when he hit a fire hydrant after being chased from his home by then-wife Elin Nordegren, which led him to admit to multiple affairs and drug use.
Gonzalez said he found Woods in the driver seat and that he was ‘lucid and calm’, likely due to shock, and revealed that he talked to the sportsman until the fire service arrived and used a halligan tool – a kind of crowbar with a large metal spike attached – to cut him free.
A neighbor who heard the crash called 911, and on arrival Gonzalez immediately realized that the golfer was too severely injured for him to move alone. Woods was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Gonzalez said he talked to Woods, to keep him calm until he could be cut from his vehicle, which was badly damaged from the impact – although the protective interior was intact.
‘When I arrived on the scene Mr Woods was in the driver’s seat,’ Gonzalez said on Tuesday afternoon.
‘He was able to speak to me. He seemed calm and lucid. I kept Mr Woods calm until LA County fire department arrived on the scene.
‘He told me his name was Tiger, and at that point I immediately recognized him. He seemed lucid and calm
‘He didn’t seem concerned about his injuries, which is common in car accidents. They may be in shock, and pain not felt until later.’
Gonzalez said Woods did not seem obviously intoxicated, and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department does not take blood tests at the scene of accidents. However, investigators will test whether he had drugs or alcohol in his system as a matter of routine.
Gonzalez added: ‘He was injured. And he was successfully removed and taken to the hospital.’
Gonzalez reiterated that the particular stretch of road was ‘a hot spot for traffic collisions and speed’.
He emphasized the severity of the accident, and said that Woods was saved by his well-built, modern vehicle.
‘The interior passenger compartment was intact,’ he said. ‘The airbags deployed successfully.
Tiger Woods’ team issued a statement on Twitter around 9:30pm local time in California on Tuesday night
Woods’ SUV was removed from the site on Tuesday afternoon, following the devastating crash in California
Woods’ vehicle ploughed through the undergrowth, smashing into a tree and demolishing the bushes as it flipped
Woods is pictured alongside girlfriend Erica (far left), mother Kultida (second left), daughter Sam and son Charlie, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania (right) at the White House following his historic 15th Masters win in 2019
‘I think this speaks to the marvel of modern engineering.’
WHAT INJURIES DOES TIGER WOODS HAVE?
Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA hospital where Woods is being treated, revealed he has suffered ‘comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones.’
That means the bones – more commonly known as the shinbone and calf bone – have splintered into more than two pieces, and have come through the skin.
Woods also suffered ‘additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle’, Mahajan said, without elaborating further.
In order to treat the injuries, Mahajan said a metal rod was inserted into Woods’ tibia which is being stabilized with rods and pins.
Additional screws and pins have been inserted into his foot and ankle, Mahajan added.
Membranes covering Woods’ leg muscles were also cut to relieve pressure in the leg from swelling, he said.
He described the injuries as ‘serious’, and could not give a prognosis or say whether Woods will be able to play golf again.
Woods was undergoing surgery on Tuesday for non life- threatening injuries including a compound fracture and a shattered ankle.
The accident happened en route to a Los Angeles golf course, to film for GolfTV.
Woods, who lives in Florida, was driving alone near Rancho Palos Verdes when his Genesis GV80 crossed the central reservation and flipped over at 7.12am.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the vehicle ‘rolled several hundred feet’.
‘He was alive, he was conscious,’ said Villanueva, adding: ‘He was not able to get up. That was not an option.’
‘There was no evidence of impairment. There was no effort to draw blood or anything like that.’
Villanueva said he was traveling at ‘a greater speed than normal,’ but noted: ‘That area has a high frequency of accidents.’
The crash happened on a downhill stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard which winds between the upmarket neighborhoods of Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills.
The speed limit along that stretch of road is 45mph and road signs warn truck drivers to use lower gears, but Gonzalez says people are regularly clocked doing 80mph or more.
Villanueva said the weather was not a factor, and that Woods hit signs and ‘sheared’ a tree. There were ‘no skidmarks, no braking. Hit the curb, hit a tree, and there were several roll overs,’ he said.
A second accident happened, when people slowed down to look. No one was injured in that second crash.
Firefighters used a halligan tool to extricate Woods, freeing him from the car via the window.
They did not, contrary to their initial statement, use the ‘jaws of life’ to break open the car.
Officials said that Woods was taken to ‘the most appropriate’ trauma center, rather than the closest one – saying this was a sign that he was not at immediate risk of losing his life.
Speaking about the lead-up to the crash, Oliver Konteh – a member of the crew working on the TV show ‘Grown-ish’ which was being filmed at the resort where Woods was staying – said Woods left shortly after 7am and appeared to be in a hurry.
TMZ reports that he was due to give a golf lesson to Drew Brees for GolfTV at the Rolling Hills Country Club at 7.30am, which is a roughly 20 minute drive from the resort.
Konteh said Woods was in his car a little before 7am, making him on time, but he was delayed by a car that blocked him in while luggage was being unloaded.
When the other car eventually moved, Konteh said Woods ‘took off fast’ and nearly hit another car belonging to the director of ‘Grown-ish’.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was first on the scene, is pictured addressing a press conference on Tuesday afternoon
Woods’ SUV smashed into the Rolling Hills Estates sign, shattering the wooden post
Investigators are pictured photographing the badly-damaged SUV, with greenery still attached to it
Part of Woods’ Genesis SUV is seen being removed from the site on Tuesday afternoon following the high-speed crash
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon following Woods’ accident
Woods’ Genesis SUV is seen being removed from the crash site on Tuesday
The badly-damaged vehicle, with its airbags inflated, was winched away on Tuesday afternoon
A straight line cut across the windscreen showed where first responders had sliced open the car to free Woods
TIGER WOOD’S INJURIES OVER THE YEARS
April 2008 – Woods takes two months off to recover after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, and to allow two stress fractures in his left tibia to heal
June – Battling through his leg pain, Woods claims victory at the US Open before having surgery to repair a torn ACL and more cartilage damage, which forced him to take nine months off
May 2010 – Woods withdraws from the Players Championship after suffering neck pain which turned out to be an inflamed facet joint that kept him off the course for a few weeks
April 2011 – He withdraws from the Wells Fargo Championship as a ‘precaution’ after suffering pain in his left leg
May – A sprained medial collateral ligament and strained Achilles tendon in his left leg force Woods to take three months off
March 2012 – Woods withdraws from the WGC-Cadillac Championship with a problem in his left Achilles tendon
June 2013 – A elbow strain forces Woods to take several weeks off
August – A series of back spasms leave Woods hunched on all fours during his final round of The Barclays
March 2014 – Woods withdraws during the Honda Classic and pulls out of the Arnold Palmer Classic after his back problems resurface
April – For the first time in his career, Woods says he won’t feature at the Masters after having surgery for a pinched nerve in his back
August – Woods is evidently in pain while playing at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, and takes a fouth-month break
February 2015 – Woods withdraws from the Farmers Insurance Open with back problems, and takes a two-month break
September – Following back surgery, Woods rules himself out of competitions for the remainder of the year
October – Woods returns to surgery for his back, and says he is expecting a ‘long and tedious’ recovery
April 2017 – The athlete undergoes a fourth surgery on his back, this time to remove a damaged disc. A month later he is arrested for DUI after ‘suffering a reaction to prescription medications’ including painkillers
December – Woods makes his professional comeback at the Hero World Challenge
March 2019 – Neck pain forces Woods to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational
April – Woods claims an historic 15th major title after victory at The Masters
August – Surgery to repair damage cartilage in his left knee forces him out for two months
March 2020 – Woods sits out the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship with back problems
December – A fifth surgery on his back forces Woods to take some time off. He does not set a timetable for return to golf, and was still recovering at the time of his crash this week
He was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where had surgery to correct ‘multiple injuries’ on his legs, his agent Mark Steinberg said in a statement shortly after the crash.
‘Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries.
‘He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support,’ Steinberg said.
A source familiar with the investigation told
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.
On Monday, he filmed with Jada Pinkett Smith, Dwyane Wade and David Spade for a series which involves him giving celebrities golfing lessons.
On Tuesday he was scheduled to film with NFL stars Drew Brees, quarterback with the New Orleans Saints, and Justin Herbert, quarterback with the Los Angeles Chargers, ESPN reported.
He lives in Florida but was in California over the weekend to host the PGA Genesis Invitational tournament.
Genesis gave him a GV80 to drive for the week.
The car, which costs from $49,925, was the vehicle he crashed on Tuesday morning.
What caused him to crash remains unknown.
He was arrested in 2017 after crashing his car while near his home in Jupiter, Florida. He had taken prescription pain medication at the time.
Sources cited by
The crew of Grown-ish were also staying at the Terranea Resort.
The show’s director – who wasn’t named but was quoted by TMZ – said Woods nearly hit his car on his way out.
He seemed ‘agitated and impatient’ because he was held back from leaving, another source said.
Woods recently underwent his fifth back surgery and has not been playing competitively while he recovers.
His live-in girlfriend Erica Herman is understood to be at the hospital where he is undergoing surgery.
Pinkett Smith uploaded photos of her on the golf course with him on Instagram, writing: ‘Guess who I had the most awesome golf day with yesterdayyyyyy??? Yes! The magnificent @tigerwoods!!!!
‘Yes … dreams come true. I can’t wait for you to see my golf journey with Tiger. Stay tuned! @golftv @golfdigest’
David Spade also tweeted a photo with him.
‘Golf lesson with this guy today. And you know what? He’s not bad… He picks things up very quickly. Good listener,’ he captioned it.
Wayde uploaded a video of the pair where Woods was in high spirits.
They joked around about Wayde’s ability. Woods laughed: ‘We’re getting better!’
Images taken at the scene show police markings traversing the road and going over the central reservation which suggests that is the path Woods took.
In a statement, the sheriff’s department said: ‘On February 23, at approximately 7.12am, LASD responded to a single vehicle roll-over traffic collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.
Woods is currently being treated at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles
The wreckage of Woods’ car on Tuesday after the crash shortly at 7am. He had to be pulled from the wreckage
Firefighters used what they call a halligan tool to rip open Woods’ car and rescue him on Tuesday morning
A close-up shows blood on the airbag in the drivers seat after Woods was pulled from the vehicle
On Monday, Woods filmed with David Spade and Jada Pinkett Smith for GolfTV. He was staying in L.A. for a two-day shoot after hosting the PGA tournament over the weekend
Dwyane Wade was also on the golf course with him on Monday afternoon (left). Woods was driving a Genesis GV80 that he’d been lent for the week
The vehicle driven by golfer Tiger Woods lies on its side in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on Tuesday, after the accident
Woods has two kids with his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren. He is pictured with his 12-year-old son Charlie, left. Elin and his 13-year-old daughter, Sam, are shown, right, with his current girlfriend Erica Herman watching him at the PNC Championship in December 2020
‘The vehicle was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road, when it crashed.
‘The vehicle sustained major damage. The driver and sole occupant was identified as PGA golfer Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods.
‘Mr. Woods was extricated from the wreck with the jaws of life by LA County firefighters and paramedics, then transported to a local hospital by ambulance for his injuries.’
Woods lives with his girlfriend, Erica Herman, in his mansion in Jupiter, Florida.
His agent recently hit out at an HBO documentary about him that he said was ‘salacious’ and ‘just another unauthorized and salacious outsider attempt to paint an incomplete portrait of one of the greatest athletes of all-time’.
The documentary focuses on his childhood and his relationship with his father Earl, and also includes interviews with kindergarten teachers and former girlfriends.
Woods does not appear and he has always been shy of sharing details of his personal life.
He has two kids with his ex-wife Elin Nordegren – a daughter, Sam, 13, and son Charlie, 12.
Woods and Nordegren divorced in 2010 after his infidelity with multiple women was exposed.
The sporting world reacted with shock on Tuesday as news of the accident spread.
Justin Thomas, one of Woods’ friends and former World Number One, said: ‘I’m sick to my stomach. It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. I just hope he’s all right. [I’m] just worried for his kids.. I’m sure they’ll struggle.’
PRAYERS AND WELL-WISHES FOR GOLF’S GOAT FROM SPORTING LEGENDS, EX-GIRLFRIENDS AND DONALD TRUMP
Dwyane Wade, who played with Tiger on Monday, said the pair spoke about Tiger’s kids and his father, and that it was an ‘incredible day’.
‘I picked up a golf club, like my in the black community, because of Tiger Woods. We taught me a few things… hopefully it translates.
‘To be out there with the GOAT – in my eyes – in their sport. Being able to talk to him about Sam and Charlie and his father… it was a great day.
‘I woke up this morning so proud to be able to post that moment, for the world to get like a little snippet of our moment together.I took a nap and I woke up to the news.
‘Just like everybody out there, my thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones because we all were shaken and shook at that moment, not knowing what happened.
Dwyane Wade on Tuesday night (shown) said he and Tiger spoke about his kids and his late father Earl when they played golf on Monday
‘My prayers go out to him.
‘Hopefully a speedy recovery for him and hopefully he gets back to doing what he loves to do and that’s playing the game of golf.
‘I’m just thankful he took the time to be able to teach me a few things about the game yesterday,’ he said during an appearance on Inside the NBA on Tuesday night.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement: ‘We have been made aware of Tiger Woods’ car accident today.
‘We are awaiting further information when he 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.’
Former President Donald Trump released a statement through his spokesperson to wish him well.
‘Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion!’ he said. Trump is still banned from Twitter.
He later appeared on FOX News, on Tuesday evening, and called him ‘a very special guy in many ways’.
Trump and Woods have played golf together several times, and the former president was effusive in his praise.
‘He’s a very respected person, so respected by the other players. They idolize him.He’s going to be back – he’s been back before, he’ll be back again.
‘He knows how to do it and I have no doubt. He’ll be back. He will be there, you watch.’
Asked what he would say to Woods, Trump said he’d tell him that he was needed.
‘I’d say get better, and get out there, because we all need him. When he’s on a show, the ratings are double and triple. Few people have that phenomena. Ratings go up two or three times from when he wasn’t competing. The television ratings for golf go through the roof.’
Rachel Uchitel, Woods’ former mistress who was the first to go public with allegations of infidelity in 2009, told
‘Obviously hearing the news has shaken me up as it’s probably shaken everybody up to see that.
‘Hearing [agent Mark Steinberg] say that he’s in surgery for his legs is something that really worries me and when you hear a comment like that you know it’s true.
‘He’s an athlete and his legs are essential to his sport and to him being who he is and he’s already had trouble with his body up until this point… ‘He didn’t need any more injuries,’ she said.
How Tiger Woods made epic comeback after spectacular fall from grace: Golfer battled back from injury problems, infidelity, arrests and drug use to reach top of the game again
A car crash that seriously injured
The golf superstar, 45, had to be cut free by fire crews after his vehicle rolled over and suffered ‘major damage’. He is now undergoing surgery.
That came after he was chased out of his house by then wife Elin Nordegren over his numerous affairs and eventually led to admissions of infidelity and drug use.
He was arrested for a DUI with five different kinds of drugs in his system in 2017 leading to Woods taking an ‘indefinite break’ from golf before his stunning comeback at the 2019 Masters.
That journey to redemption had been an arduous one for Woods.
Now, just months after a new HBO documentary heard from his mistress Rachel Uchitel for the first time, Woods is back in the headlines after crashing while driving alone near Rancho Palos Verdes when his Genesis GV80 flipped over at 7.12am.
Uchitel said she was ‘shaken up’ after news of the crash first broke, telling
‘Hearing [agent Mark Steinberg] say that he’s in surgery for his legs is something that really worries me and when you hear a comment like that you know it’s true.’
News of a serious car crash that left Tiger Woods with ‘multiple leg injuries’ Tuesday marked the latest chapter in 15-time major winner’s turbulent life. Pictured: Masters champion Tiger Woods poses with his Masters trophy in 1997, left, and in 2019, right
The world’s first billionaire golfer – who Nike built their entire golf business on – Woods was once the most famous sportsman in the entire world. A mixed-race man from modest beginnings had taken on the rich, privileged and very white world of golf and beaten it into submission.
Playing his first major as a professional and paired with defending champion Nick Faldo in the 1997 Masters, Woods set a tournament record of 18 under par and win by 12 shots from Tom Kite.
Two months later Woods became world number one for the first time and went on to spend a record 683 weeks at the top of the rankings, including a record 281 in succession.
Golfer Tiger Woods poses for a photograph with his mother and father Earl and Kultida Woods on September 22, 1990
Woods almost ran out of balls during his delayed second round of the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach after practicing his putting the night before and leaving three balls in his hotel room.
Thankfully he found the 18th fairway at the second attempt with his last remaining ball and stormed to a record 15-shot victory.
A month later he carded four rounds in the 60s to win the Open Championship at St Andrews by eight shots and become the youngest player to complete a career grand slam.
In August of that year Woods successfully defended his US PGA Championship title following a play-off with Bob May at Valhalla and the following April a second Masters victory made him the only player to hold all four major titles at the same time.
In 2000 he became the youngest player to complete a career grand slam and the only player to hold all four major titles at the same time.
But his success did not come without its own troubles.
Woods had enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom but his fall from grace was equally spectacular.
The biggest influence on Woods’ career was undoubtedly his father Earl Woods, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel who named his son Eldrick but gave him the nickname Tiger after a Vietnamese soldier he had befriended during the war.
Sources close to the star say the death of Earl in 2006 was a turning point for the star.
After a nine-week lay-off, Woods returned to action in the US Open and unsurprisingly missed the cut in a major for the first time as a professional.
Away from the golf course, Woods began making regular trips to Las Vegas where he indulged a side of him that the public never did.
Tiger Woods and his wife Elin look on during the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Ryder Cup
Tiffany Masters, a former VIP host in Vegas said they would ‘spoil’ Woods and told him: ‘You’re like a prince and free to do whatever you want.’
In Vegas, Woods would party with basketball legends Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley who would be surrounded by beautiful women who wanted to hang out with them.
Woods was wide-eyed and clueless in the beginning and asked Jordan what to say if one of the women approached him.
A recent two-part HBO documentary about Woods’ life, called Tiger, claims Woods used to order up to 10 prostitutes at a time during wild parties in Las Vegas which cost $100,000 or more for the weekend.
A former escort who took part said Woods was into role playing and treated hookers like ‘little puppets.’
A close family friend said Woods learned his philandering ways from watching his father have sex with blondes in a Winnebago RV that he parked next to golf courses when they practiced in his childhood.
Tiger’s mistress Uchitel opened up in her first TV interview for the HBO documentary. Their affair became public after Woods summoned her to the Australian Masters in 2009.
Now, just months after a new HBO documentary heard from his mistress Rachel Uchitel for the first time, Woods is back in the headlines
The National Enquirer had been monitoring Woods for months and a reporter followed her up in the elevator and watched her go into Woods’ suite, which was proof enough for the story to run.
Woods tried to persuade his wife Elin Nordegren that Uchitel was a friend and put her on the phone with her for 30 minutes.
Uchitel says she used the time ‘convincing her I was not having a sexual relationship with Tiger’ and she seemed to have bought it.
The story came out and it seemed to have made little impact.
On Thanksgiving Uchitel says she was texting Woods they had ‘gotten away unscathed in what could have been a complete nightmare’.
Then she got a text saying: ‘You were the only one I ever loved’. Uchitel was feeling that things had ‘never been better’ between them.
Woods said he was taking an Ambien and going to sleep but a short while later Uchitel got another text saying: ‘When am I going to see you again’, and then the phone rang.
Surprised, Uchitel answered with ‘hey babe’ but it was Nordegren who told her: ‘I knew it was you.’
Nordegren and Woods got into a ferocious argument that led to her chasing him out of the house with a golf club and him crashing his SUV into a tree.
After the incident the affair became public, Woods’ world collapsed and a slew of women came forward to claim they had affairs with him.
Tiger Woods’ SUV after he crashed it into a fire hydrant and tree outside his home in 2009
Woods released a statement on his website saying, ‘I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart’
Nordegren, with whom he had two young children, divorced him for a reported $100 million.
Uchitel says: ‘I regret that he was married and I regret the mistakes that I made but people came at me like they wanted to blame me for the fact a married man cheated on his wife, like I was the only one responsible for his actions.’
Woods arranged for a confidentiality settlement and told Uchitel to ‘get as much as you can’ from his lawyers.
Uchitel says: ‘I think to him that was his only way to love me at the time.’
Uchitel was the first of more than a dozen women who were identified as Woods’ mistresses in 2009, which led to his downfall from the pinnacle of the golfing world.
Until then Woods’ image had been squeaky clean and he had earned hundreds of millions of dollars from sponsorships, including Nike and American Express.
During an excruciating televised apology in February 2010, Woods revealed he had undergone 45 days of ‘inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I’m facing’. Woods split from wife Elin in 2010.
The dad-of-two split from wife Elin Nordegren in 2010, after news of his multiple affairs broke. He now dates long term girlfriend Erica Herman. It was Nordegren who had chased him out of the house with a golf club after discovering his numerous infidelities
Following revelations of his infidelities Woods returned to action in the Masters and had to endure a public dressing down from Augusta National chairman Billy Payne.
‘It is not simply the degree of his conduct here that is so egregious,’ Payne said. ‘It is the fact that he disappointed all of us and, more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to expectations.’
Understandably, 2010 was the first time in his professional career Woods did not win a single tournament.
And – although he won five times in 2013 to get back to world number one – he started just 24 events in the next four years as the pain from a back injury often left him grimacing or forced to withdraw from events entirely.
Spinal fusion surgery in 2017 was the last throw of the dice to save his golf career, and proved successful, although Woods still had issues in cold weather and when forced to play more than 18 holes in a day.
But just weeks after his spinal surgery, Woods hit rock bottom when he was arrested for a DUI in Palm Beach County.
Woods was found asleep at the wheel of his car and later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
It emerged that Woods had five prescription drugs in his system at the time and he spent 11 months on probation.
There were five different kinds of drugs in Woods’ system when he was arrested in 2017
Woods continued winning for a few years but injuries destroyed his form and he hit rock bottom in 2017 when he was arrested for a DUI in Palm Beach County
During his return to action in November 2017, Woods revealed the depth of his physical struggles. ‘I’ve been in bed for about two years and haven’t been able to do much,’ Woods said.
But his tale of redemption was complete in 2019 when Woods held his nerve on a chaotic final day at Augusta National to win his 15th major title.
It was his fifth green jacket in the 83rd Masters.
The achievement won him widespread acclaim, and President Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom on May 6, 2019, with the White House hailing Woods as a ‘global symbol of American excellence.’
Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo of England during the final round of the 1997 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 1997 in Augusta, Georgia
The then-president said: ‘Congratulations again on your amazing comeback and your amazing life and for giving sports fans everywhere a lifetime of memories.’
Woods has continued playing since, but has still been plagued with injury.
Woods recently underwent his fifth back surgery and has not been playing competitively while he recovers.
Following Thursday’s crash en route to a Los Angeles golf course, Woods is again undergoing surgery on Tuesday for non life- threatening injuries including a compound fracture and a shattered ankle.
His live-in girlfriend Erica Herman is understood to be at the hospital where he is undergoing surgery.
Masters champion Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019