Car Accident Involving Tiger Woods

Here’s to a speedy recovery.

Jim Rome
February 24, 2021 - 9:14 am
Tiger Woods

USA Today

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The news broke yesterday just as the show was ending: just after 7am, Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car accident on Hawthorne Boulevard near Rolling Hills Estates in Southern California. According to reports, a neighbor alerted the authorities at 7:12am.

When authorities arrived, Woods was wearing his seatbelt and “lucid and calm” but unable to get out of the vehicle. Initial reports mentioned that the jaws of life were used to get him out, but that was not the case.

The fact that the jaws of life were mentioned in an initial statement and then turned out to not be true, is a very good reminder of the fact that in moments like this, with the way information spreads, a lot of the initial information that comes out might not be true.

Here’s what we understand happened at this point:

Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Hospital which is a little less than 10 miles away from the scene of the accident. At the time that I went off the air, there had been a statement from Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg, that “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.”

And now, a little more than 24 hours after the accident, we know a little bit more about it.

According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Woods was driving at a “relatively greater speed than normal,” when his SUV made contact with the median, then went over the median, went across two lanes, hit a curb, hit a number of trees, and rolled several times, with the vehicle ending up hundreds of feet from the road.

Villanueva said there were no skid marks and no evidence of braking. According to Villanueva, it will take days or weeks to complete a thorough investigation.

Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer and interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical center released the following statement that was part of a larger statement tweeted by Woods’ twitter account: “Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treaded during emergency surgery by orthopedic 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.”

So that is the good news. Tiger Woods is alive, he was awake following surgery, he is responsive and is recovering in his hospital room.

You know it’s a terrible situation and a truly bad accident when comminuted open fractures are good news. Because from the looks of the vehicle and the comments from the authorities, yesterday could’ve been so much worse. Especially if Woods had not been wearing his seatbelt.

But that doesn’t mean this isn’t bad. It’s brutal. A comminuted open fracture means that the tibia and fibula suffered multiple fractures. In fact, it sounds like they shattered. Or were crushed.

And an open fracture means the bone, or bones, went through the skin. It is truly the stuff of a horror film. A rod has been inserted into his leg for stabilization, as well as pins and screws used to stabilize his foot and ankle.

In addition to all of this, they had to perform a surgical release on the leg to relieve pressure due to swelling.  

That is the health status of Tiger Woods as of the last update. And it is insane. It’s just crazy.

On Monday, he was doing a video shoot with Dwyane Wade and David Spade at Rolling Hills Country Club. It was part of a series where he would be giving on-course instruction to celebrities.

And the reports are that yesterday he was due to shoot with Drew Brees and Justin Herbert. And suddenly he’s undergoing emergency surgery in a level 1 trauma center.

And yes, I’m aware of the reports and speculation about yesterday morning and why he might have been traveling at a high rate of speed. But until we know more about it, I’m not going to get into that. I will say that as one deputy pointed out, there are plenty of people who speed in that area and there have been multiple accidents.

Also, authorities said there was no indication that he was impaired or under the influence.

And then there are all the folks rushing to make predictions about his future on the golf course. And that feels way ahead of schedule. He just had his leg or legs crushed in a car accident yesterday. He’s got comminuted open fractures, rods, pins, and screws going into his legs. We don’t even know the timeframe for recovery from these surgeries, or how many more surgeries he’s going to have or need.

What we do know is that he’s someone who’s had countless surgeries on his legs and back over the course of his career. And that he’s 45.

And we know that he’s a father. And that he has two kids who are going through something right now that I cannot begin to imagine. And that this comes just a few months after he and his son, Charlie, played in a father-son event where it looked like they were both having so much fun, and where Tiger had so much pride. The Tiger who played in that event looked a lot different from the one who we’d seen for years

As his friend, Justin Thomas said yesterday, his thoughts were with Tiger’s kids.

There will probably be more news that comes out today and I’ll update you as I receive it. And if you’d like to talk about this, we certainly can. But what we won’t be doing is playing amateur doctor or speculator or reporter and loading up a bunch of hearsay, conjecture, and twitter garbage. Not the time and not the place.

Over the last 14 months, we’ve had a lot of reminders of how life can change in an instant. This is another one. Here’s hoping Tiger’s recovers as quickly and soundly as possible, without complication. And not for a return to the tour but for his family and himself personally. 

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