Tiger Woods was injured in a serious car crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday, adding in a statement that paramedics pulled him from the wreckage with the rescue tool called the “jaws of life.”
Mark Steinberg, Mr. Woods’s longtime agent, said in a statement that Woods had suffered “multiple leg injuries” and is “currently in surgery.”
Steinberg added: “We thank you for your privacy and support.”
The incident happened about 7:12 a.m. local time on Tuesday near the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal city of about 42,000 people in Los Angeles County. Mr. Woods’s vehicle was traveling north on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when it crashed, the Sheriff’s Department said.
“The vehicle sustained major damage,” the department said.
Pictures of crash scene broadcast on local television Tuesday afternoon showed a black SUV turned on its side in an open, grassy area with extensive damage to the front of the vehicle.
Mr. Woods was removed from the vehicle with a hydraulic spreader tool, often called the “jaws of life,” by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics, and he was then taken to a hospital. His condition and the extent of his injuries were not immediately clear.
The incident is being investigated by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Lomita station.
Mr. Woods, 45, has not played competitively since December and had his fifth back surgery in January, a procedure called a microdiscectomy, to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve. Last weekend, he hosted a PGA Tour event in Southern California, the Genesis Invitational. Interviewed on the broadcast of that tournament, Woods said he had begun practicing, and he appeared at ease, smiling and joking with CBS announcers about his progress from the surgery. But he offered no timetable for his return to competitive golf.
He only said he had hoped to resume playing by the Masters Tournament, which is held in the first full week of April.
Monday, at an event at the Rolling Hills Country Club near Los Angeles, pictures on social media showed Mr. Woods happily interacting with various celebrities, including the NBA player Dwyane Wade. During the function, Mr. Woods gave players golf tips and limited instruction but was not swinging a golf club.
The Masters, the fabled tournament that Tiger Woods has conquered five times, is less than seven weeks away. But even before Tuesday’s wreck, it was far from clear whether Woods, who has been recovering from yet another back surgery, would be able to play at Augusta National Golf Club this year.
Asked on CBS on Sunday whether he would compete in Georgia in April, Woods replied: “God, I hope so. I’ve got to get there first.”
Woods announced on Jan. 19 that doctors had removed a pressurized disc fragment during what was his fifth back surgery. The procedure, a microdiscectomy, was familiar ground for Woods. He had undergone the procedure several times in recent years, but he said he would miss at least two tournaments.
The Masters, though, has remained central on Woods’s calendar. On Sunday, he said he was “feeling fine, a little bit stiff” and was awaiting another M.R.I. scan to evaluate his progress.
In the meantime, he said, he had been “still doing the mundane stuff that you have to do for rehab, the little things before you can start gravitating toward something a little more.”
Woods tied for 38th place in November, when the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters was played. Although he shot a 10 on hole No. 12 during the final round, he birdied five of the last six holes.
“No matter how hard I try, things just don’t work the way they used to, and no matter how much I push and ask of this body, it just doesn’t work at times,” Woods said after that round.
Speaking this week, Woods conceded that surgeons may have only so many more ways to help him: “This is the only back I’ve got. I don’t have much more wiggle room there.”
Tiger Woods has been in a well-publicized car crash before.
In November of 2009, Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant outside his Florida home in the middle of the night. He was knocked unconscious in the crash and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance, where he was treated for minor facial injuries. But the incident is remembered mostly for what happened next and the fallout for his career. There were numerous reports of Woods’s infidelities and an apology in which he admitted cheating on his wife. He lost numerous sponsors and stepped away from golf for months. Woods and Elin Nordegren eventually divorced.
Woods was also arrested in 2017 in Florida, after police found him asleep in his car on the side of a road at 3 a.m. with the engine running. Woods blamed the incident on the interaction of several prescription medicines, including Vicodin, and did not have any alcohol in his system. He eventually entered a diversion program for first-time D.U.I. offenders, and pleaded guilty to reckless driving.