TIGER WOODS cheated death after ploughing off a road in a high-speed car smash that left him with serious injuries in both legs.
The golf superstar, 45, had emergency surgery last night after firefighters cut him from the wreckage of a 4×4 in Rancho Palos Verdes, near Los Angeles.
He was taken to hospital and was undergoing surgery on multiple injuries to his legs – as footage showed his crumpled Genesis GV80 lying on its side.
A statement on the golf star’s Twitter account this morning said he was “awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room” after emergency surgery on his lower right leg and ankle.
Sheriff’s deputy Carlos Gonzales, who was first on the scene, said Woods, still wearing his seatbelt, was “calm and lucid.”
Sources close to Woods said his injuries included a compound leg fracture and shattered ankle.
‘AWAKE AND RECOVERING’
In a statement posted on Twitter, a spokesman said: “Tiger was involved in a single car accident earlier this morning in California.
“He has undergone a long surgical procedure on the lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital.”
Anish Hanajan, Chief Medical Officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, said: “Mr Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right leg extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre, a level 1 trauma centre.”
Woods also suffered fractures to his upper and lower tibia and fibula, which were stabilised with a rod.
Screws and pins were used on other injuries on his foot and ankle bones, the statement added.
Other injuries included trauma to the muscle and soft tissue of the leg.
The star’s girlfriend Erica Herman was understood to be at the hospital where he was undergoing surgery.
Cops said his seat belt and air bags saved his life as the car crossed a central reservation, ploughed up an embankment and rolled over several times.
Mr Gonzalez said he spoke to Woods to keep him calm before he was cut from his badly damaged car.
He said: “When I arrived on the scene Mr Woods was in the driver’s seat.
“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 recognised 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.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the front end of the vehicle was “totally destroyed.”
He said: “The interior was more or less intact, which gave him the cushion to survive, otherwise it would have been a fatal crash.
“He is lucky to be alive.”
Dad of two Woods was conscious “he was not able to get up, no, that was not an option,” Villanueva added.
Fire Chief Daryl Osby said a pry bar and axe were used to rescue Woods from the smashed motor.
He said Woods “was able to communicate and he was conscious, I’ll leave it at that.”
Woods was the only person in the car – loaned to him by a golf tournament sponsor – when he sped off the road on a bend just after 7am local time.
He was on his way to play golf with NFL stars Drew Brees and Justin Herbert when he crashed, according to the New York Post.
An LA County Sheriff’s Department source told TMZ they did not believe alcohol was involved – but did not speculate on any other substances.
Mark Steinberg, the golfer’s agent, said: “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.”
WOODS’ DRIVING CONTROVERSIES
In 2009, Woods’ SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree around the time shock revelations claimed he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women.
Woods lost major corporate sponsorship, went to a rehab and did not return to golf for five months.
In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road.
He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine his back pain.
Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.
Tiger was arrested in May 2017 near his Jupiter Island, Florida, for driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
He was asleep in his car, which was stationary in a traffic lane with its engine running.
A mugshot showed a wide-eyed Woods staring blankly at the camera.
He later claimed he had taken prescription drugs and did not realise how they might interact together – pleading guilty to reckless driving.
The former World Number One golfer received a year of probation, was fined around £180 ($250), and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service along with regular drug tests.
He had been battling a decade of setbacks – which saw his marriage breakdown after he was accused of multiple affairs with women.
The golfing great was divorced by model wife Elin Nordegren as a result in 2009.
He recovered to win the prestigious Masters in 2019.
Tiger, a 15-time major champion, was at the iconic Riviera Country Club, in California, this weekend for his own tournament The Genesis Invitational.
He was not playing as he recovers from a fifth back surgery, but hung out with stars including David Spade.
Actor Spade wrote on Twitter: “Golf lesson with this guy today. And you know what? He’s not bad…He picks things up very quickly. Good listener.”
Woods gave an interview from the tournament – where he was accused of again looking glassy-eyed.
Asked whether he was confident of being able to tee off for the upcoming Masters, 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.”