Golf legend Tiger Woods is now at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after undergoing surgery at Harbor UCLA hospital following a car crash in Rancho Palos Verdes on Tuesday.
Woods, 45, was moved from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to Cedars to continue his care following emergency surgery to repair a compound leg fracture and a shattered ankle suffered in the crash.
Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer and interim chief executive of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, described Woods’ condition:
“Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level-1 trauma center. Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia.
“Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.”
The tibia and fibula are the two bones in your lower leg, and a comminuted fracture refers to a bone being broken into multiple fragments, as opposed to a clean break. The tibia is the shin bone you can feel under your skin. If wounds there have trouble healing, doctors might use skin grafts or transfer muscles from other parts of the body for coverage of that bone.
The term “open” means the bone broke through the skin. Such injuries run the risk of infection, experts say.
The rollover crash, in which Woods had to be extracted through the windshield, was “purely an accident,” and no criminal charges will be filed against Woods, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
The “black box” from Woods’ SUV will provide investigators with information on how fast he was driving when he lost control just after 7 a.m. Tuesday, Villanueva said. The sheriff said there was no evidence that Woods was impaired when he crashed and hence no probable cause to test his blood-alcohol or do a toxicology screening at the hospital.
The road where the crash occurred is known for its steep grade and twisting curves that can lead to high rates of speed when traveling downhill.
Villanueva had previously said the vehicle was traveling at a “relatively greater speed than normal” down Hawthorne Boulevard near Blackhorse Road when it crossed the center divider, struck a tree and then rolled over, coming to rest about 30 yards up a hillside.
Woods was already recovering from his fifth back surgery when he got behind the wheel Tuesday morning. By the time he was pulled from the vehicle, he was so dazed, he did not realize the extent of his injuries.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez was the first to arrive at the scene of the accident.
“Mr. Woods was not able to stand under his own power,” Gonzalez said. Woods had to be strapped to a backboard before emergency responders loaded him into an ambulance for the drive to the trauma unit at Harbor-UCLA.
“I spoke to him,” Gonzalez said. “I asked him what his name was. He told me his name was Tiger, and at that moment, I immediately recognized him.”
Although Tuesday’s wreck was the third time Woods was involved in a high-profile vehicle incident, it was by far the most serious. The first two did more damage to his reputation; this one could end his career.
In 2009, as he backed his Cadillac SUV out of his driveway in a gated Florida community, he struck a fire hydrant and slammed into a neighbor’s tree. Eight years later, he was arrested in Jupiter, Fla., after police officers found him asleep at the wheel of his car. Woods later said that incident was caused by an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
The PGA star was in Los Angeles as the host of the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club, a golf tournament that concluded Sunday. Woods did not play in the event, because he was recovering from back surgery, but told CBS announcer Jim Nantz in an interview during the final round that he hoped to play 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 two-day shoot with Golf Digest/GolfTV. On Monday, a smiling Woods spent time with retired NBA star Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade — both of whom documented the gathering on social media — at Rolling Hills Country Club.
Woods, who was staying at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, was en route to the Rolling Hills Country Club, about 20 minutes away, for filming when the crash occurred.