Tiger Woods is facing a long road to recovery after a roll-over crash left him with "significant" injuries. The 45-year-old golfer, who remains hospitalized, was headed to Rolling Hills early Tuesday morning when the Genesis SUV courtesy vehicle he was driving crossed over a raised median and two oncoming lanes in the Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes area of California at around 7 a.m. local time. The vehicle hit a curb and a tree before rolling over several times, an accident that the Associated Press reports potentially threatens to upend his golf career.
In the hours that followed the accident, details of the crash, as well as Woods' condition, became clear. According to reports, the airbags deployed during the crash, which ended with Woods' vehicle lying on its side off of the road, and the windshield was shattered. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department first said in a statement that Woods, who was wearing a seatbelt, had to be "extricated from the wreck with the 'jaws of life,'" but the Los Angeles County Fire Department later said that the jaws of life were not necessary — but that first responders used an ax to smash the car's windshield and extract Woods. Carlos Gonzalez, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy who was the first to arrive on the scene, said that "it's very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive." Woods, however, now faces an uphill battle of recovery.
Following the accident, Woods was rushed to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent extensive emergency surgery to correct injuries to both of his legs. The athlete is said to have suffered "significant" injuries down his right leg, with Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer, explaining that Woods shattered both his tibia and fibula on his right leg in multiple locations. During surgery, a rod was placed in his tibia bone to stabilize it. Screws and pins were used to stabilize additional injuries in his ankle and foot. The AP notes, "now it's no longer a matter of when he plays again — the Masters is seven weeks away — but if he plays again."
Details of Woods' recovery are unclear at this time, as is when and if he will be able to play again. The golfer, who was looking ahead to the World Golf Championship in Florida, now remains in the hospital, where he is said to be "awake, responsive and recovering." It is not known when he will be discharged.
Amid his accident, Woods has received a number of well-wishes from his fellow athletes. Former MLB player Aaron Rodriguez tweeted that he was "praying" for the golfer and "thinking of him and his entire family." Olympian Lindsay Vonn, who dated Woods from 2013 to 2015, tweeted, "Praying for TW right now."