'Agitated': Startling Tiger crash claim
As Tiger Woods underwent surgery for major leg injuries in a Los Angeles hospital, a troubling report of his state before a major single vehicle car crash has emerged.
TMZ reports the golf icon was seen leaving an LA area hotel in an "agitated and impatient" state before he rolled his car on the side of a highway south of the city.
It's prompted fears for his immediate wellbeing and his golf career - and an outpouring of support from the sports world and his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn.
"Tiger was staying at a hotel where a major network television show was being shot," TMZ reports.
"Production sources tell TMZ, when the director arrived just before 7am, Tiger was driving his SUV very fast as he was leaving the property and almost hit the director's car.
"The director was shaken enough to tell production staff about it after he parked.
"A crew member who saw Tiger as he got in his SUV at the hotel tells TMZ, once Tiger got in his vehicle, there was a delay in driving off and he appeared 'agitated and impatient'. The crew member says once the delay was over, Tiger 'took off fast'."
Woods, 45, was driving alone when he lost control of his vehicle around 7am local time. It travelled "several hundred feet" across a centre divider before hitting a tree, rolling several times and coming to a stop on its side.
Woods was trapped and had to be extricated from his car by emergnecy service workers, who pulled him through the windshield of his SUV.
The first LA County Sherrif's Department officer on the scene, Carlos Gonzalez, said Woods remained "calm and lucid" while he waited for the fire department to arrive to help remove him from the car.
But he said the father-of-two was "lucky to be alive" and likely saved because he was wearing a seatbelt.
A second crash occurred when a driver stopped to help Woods and their car was hit, but the contact was described as very minor and no one was hurt.
AGENT REVEALS 'MULTIPLE INJURIES'
Woods' agent Mark Steinberg released a short statement confirming Woods had "suffered multiple leg injuries.
"He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support," Steinberg said.
ESPN's Michael Eaves reported Woods injuries were not considered life-threatening.
"Local police source said the initial report from the scene of the accident indicated the possibility of multiple leg fractures," he tweeted.
A local news helicopter flew over the scene of the accident and showed a car on its side with the front end heavily damaged. The wreckage appeared to be just off the side of a road on a hillside and air bags appeared to be deployed.
Audio of emergency service workers co-ordinating their response was obtained by TMZ and one could be heard saying: "We have a rollover with someone trapped."
TRUMP REACTS, FRIEND NEAR TEARS
Woods, who has two children, Charlie and Sam, was in LA for the US PGA Genesis Invitational, where he serves as tournament host.
Former US president Donald Trump led a host of wellwishers, saying: "Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion."
Golf professional Justin Thomas fought to hold back tears as he reacted to the incident during a press conference.
"I'm sick to my stomach. It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident," Thomas said. "I just hope he's alright. Just worried for his kids, you know. I'm sure they're struggling."
Ian Poulter tweeted: "Wishing a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad."
The PGA Tour also released a statement saying: "Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers."
THIRD INVOLVEMENT IN CAR ACCIDENT
The 82-time tournament winner has endured a chequered history off the course after becoming the most dominant golfer in history in the early 2000s.
He was exposed for having an extramarital affair in 2009 and was divorced by Elin Nordegren, his wife of six years.
Woods famously crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a tree outside his home at 2.30am and was treated for minor facial lacerations when the scandal broke.
In 2017 he was arrested near his Florida home for driving under the influence of drugs. He was found asleep in his car stationary in a traffic lane with the engine running.
Woods later stated he had taken prescription drugs and did not realise how they would interact together. He later pled guilty to a charge of reckless driving and completed a DUI offender program and 50 hours of community service.
RECENT BACK SURGERY
On Tuesday, Woods made his first public comments since undergoing his fifth back surgery, which had left the 15-time major champion uncertain if he would be able to play at this year's Masters.
"I'm feeling fine. I'm a little stiff," Woods said. "I have one more MRI scheduled so we'll see if the annulus is scarred over finally and then I can start doing more activities.
"Still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff that you have to do for rehab, the little things where I can start gravitating toward something more."
But given his age and this latest incident, Woods' future in the sport is now firmly in doubt.
- with AFP
Originally published as Jaws of life used in Tiger Woods crash