Woods suffers leg injuries in car mishap

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    LOS ANGELES. — Golf champion Tiger Woods was hospitalized in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) with severe leg injuries suffered when his car veered off a road and rolled down a steep hillside, requiring rescue crews to pry him from the wreckage, authorities said.

    The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference hours later, adding that Woods was conscious and “able to communicate” when rescue personnel arrived.

    The sheriff said there was no evidence of impairment when Woods was assessed by emergency workers at the scene, and that no blood samples were drawn by investigators after he was rushed by ambulance to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

    Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said Woods suffered serious injuries to both legs and that he was initially listed in serious but stable condition. CNN reported Woods sustained compound fractures to his legs.

    Carlos Gonzales, a sheriff’s deputy who was the first to reach the wreck, described Woods, who was wearing his seatbelt, as “calm and lucid,” and said he recognized the golf great after Woods told the officer his name was “Tiger.”

    Video footage from the crash scene showed Woods’ dark gray Genesis sport utility vehicle badly crumpled and lying on its side near the bottom of the hillside, its windows smashed.

    Woods, 45, a 15-time Grand Slam champion and one of the world’s most celebrated sports figures, was the sole occupant of the car when it crashed at about 7:12 a.m. near the suburban communities of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, the sheriff’s department 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’ agent, Mark Steinberg, said earlier in a statement given to Golf Digest journalist Daniel Rapaport.

    Villanueva said Woods’ vehicle struck a tree and rolled over several times after swerving off the roadway and down the embankment.

    The sheriff’s department initially said a rescue tool known as “the jaws of life” was used to pry Woods from the wreckage. Fire department officials later said emergency personnel pulled Woods from the vehicle through the front windshield after the glass was removed.

    Woods’ success on the greens transformed him into a worldwide superstar, ushering in an era of multimillion-dollar endorsements and lucrative appearance money and spread the sport to an audience far beyond its traditional image of male, white and middle-class.

    He was also a major influence on the modern generation of golfers such as Australian world No. 1 Jason Day, who has said he read a book about Woods and decided to copy the American’s high work ethic. – Reuters