Golf star Tiger Woods was in the hospital Tuesday after a serious rollover crash near Rancho Palos Verdes, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Woods was the sole occupant of a Genesis GV80 SUV that was traveling north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when he crashed just after 7 a.m., authorities said. The vehicle sustained major damage, and Woods had to be extricated from the wreckage by personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, sheriff’s officials said.
Sources said he had to be removed through the car’s windshield.
“Because of the situation and the way that you found the vehicle, he wasn’t able to open the door and come out,” Fire Department spokesman Henry Narvaez said. “We extricated him; we helped assist him out of the vehicle.”
Woods was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance, where he was in serious condition and being treated for his injuries, the Fire Department said.
The pro golfer “suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support,” his manager, Mark Steinberg, said.
Woods’ injuries included a shattered ankle, according to a source familiar with his treatment.
Aerial images from the scene of the crash showed Woods’ vehicle lying about 30 yards off the road on its side.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods is “lucky to be alive.”
The PGA star was in Los Angeles as the host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, a golf tournament that concluded Sunday. He did not play in the event, as he was recovering from his fifth back surgery, but told CBS announcer Jim Nantz in an interview during the final round that he hoped to play in 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.”
According to various reports, Woods was on the golf course for a Golf Digest photo shoot on Monday, and both retired NBA star Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade tweeted they were playing with him that day. 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.
Law enforcement sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Times that Woods was traveling at a high rate of speed and lost control of the vehicle before crossing the center divider. Woods’ SUV rolled multiple times before coming to a halt. Officials have not revealed the cause of the crash.
The crash occurred on a curvy, steep stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard, a major road that cuts through the Palos Verdes Peninsula where signs warn trucks to use lower gears when traveling downhill. The road was closed Tuesday morning as deputies investigated. A bright red tow truck was seen driving up Hawthorne toward the crash site about 1:30 p.m.
Sheriff’s deputies were photographing the scene and were set to take measurements and detail the wreckage before it was removed. The front end of the SUV was heavily damaged and the windscreen frame had been removed where Woods was extracted from the vehicle.
Investigators were trying to determine whether any other vehicles were on the road at the time and may have played a role in the crash. Data can also be extracted from the vehicle’s computer system, officials said.
Asked about the numerous deputies on scene examining the wreckage and documenting the crash site, Villaneuva said, “Any time there are injuries, an extensive investigation is required.”
Bob Fong, 67, who lives on Blackhorse Road, just north of the crash site, noticed police cars at Hawthorne Boulevard on Tuesday morning and thought, “It must have been some big celebrity that crashed.”
Fong knows how tricky the curves on the steep Hawthorne Boulevard can be — so much so that near the crash site there is a runoff lane for use in emergencies.
Laureen Swing, a 15-year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, was walking her dog a block from the intersection of the crash site Tuesday afternoon. She said it’s a heavily trafficked area.
“There’s accidents all the time. … I think it’s almost a dangerous stretch of road, and I always stay on the right side because I’m just afraid of people wanting to go fast,” Swing said. “They don’t use turn signals sometimes when they switch lanes. I’ve almost found myself getting into an accident, trying to avoid another car cutting me off on that road. It’s pretty dangerous.”
She didn’t see Woods’ crash, but she said a van crossed the median on the same road a few years ago and nearly hit her.
One 54-year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes who requested anonymity and claimed to live across the street from Hawthorne and Blackhorse, called the intersection a “speed trap.”
“You don’t know how fast you can descend,” the resident said. “I’ve been ticketed not even accelerating, just using the momentum of the hill, and I was speeding. If you’re not familiar with this area, it’s just really easy to go fast. I usually [avoid the intersection] because people will run the light, and I could get nailed making my left turn up here.”
Donnie Nelson, a resident of Rolling Hills, said that stretch of Hawthorne is the site of dangerous accidents usually once or twice a year.
“Most of the time, trucks come down the hill and lose their brakes,” he said.
He’s known at least one person who was seriously injured by a trash truck on the hill. The speed limit is 45 mph, but he said “cars fly by you here.”
This is not the first car crash Woods has been involved in. In 2009, as he backed out of his driveway in a gated community near Orlando, Fla., his Cadillac SUV struck a fire hydrant and hit a neighbor’s tree.
In 2017, Woods was arrested in Jupiter, Fla., after police officers found him asleep at the wheel of his car. Woods later said the incident was caused by an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”
Times staff writer Christina Schoellkopf contributed to this report.