Golf icon Tiger Woods faces a fight to save his celebrated career after doctors used rods, pins and screws on his right leg, foot and ankle following his horrifying car crash, with officials revealing he was saved by an airbag.
Five-time Masters winner Woods endured a “long surgical procedure” after his SUV hit a sign, tumbled down an embankment across two lanes and landed on its side, breaking multiple bones in his right leg that had to be held back together by doctors in hospital.
No charges have been made and police have said there was no evidence that the 45-year-old was impaired, while a statement on his Twitter account announced that he was awake and responding under the watch of medics.
Carlos Gonzalez, the deputy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the first to attend the scene in Los Angeles following a call to emergency services from a neighbor, admitted: “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive.”
Woods was wearing a seatbelt and was spared more agony by the deployment of an airbag in the vehicle during his ordeal in the accident hotspot on the way to the Rolling Hills Country Club.
The sporting superstar is certain to miss the Masters in seven weeks and, with the lasting damage of his injuries unclear, there are serious question marks over whether he will be able to return to action, having already missed out on tournaments through physical issues in recent years.
Woods was inundated with messages of support, including words from the two most recent US presidents to leave office.
Sending my prayers to @TigerWoods and his family tonight—here’s to a speedy recovery for the GOAT of golf. If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to never count Tiger out.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 24, 2021
“Sending my prayers to Tiger Woods and his family tonight,” Barack Obama told his Twitter following of almost 130 million.
“Here’s to a speedy recovery for the GOAT of golf. If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to never count Tiger out.”
Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, gave his backing to Woods in a Fox News interview in lieu of being able to react on Twitter, where his account was closed last month.
“He’s going to be back,” insisted the golf fan who awarded Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2019. “I have no doubt about it, he’s going to be back.
“All I’d say to him is get better and get out there because we all miss him. We need Tiger.
“When Tiger is in contention, which is often, the ratings are double and triple. It’s very few people that can cause that kind of phenomena.”
Sharing a photo of a celebrating Woods on Instagram, Trump supporter and former golf number one Greg Norman told his following of almost 200,000 that he expected him to prevail.
“He has mental strength stronger than most and has fought many battles and won many of them,” said Norman.
“His mental strength will win this battle. Prayers and thoughts to Tiger Woods and his family.”