Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Pro-golfer Tiger Woods crashed his SUV on sweeping, downhill road in the Los Angeles suburbs Tuesday morning, and doctors tried to stabilise “significant” injuries to his right leg with rods and a combination of screws and pins.

Woods was driving to a television shoot when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side near a steep road known for wrecks, authorities said. Golf’s biggest star had to be pulled out through the windshield.

Woods’ foundation said in a statement he was awake, responsive and recovering in the hospital.

Dr Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said Woods shattered the tibia and fibula bones of his lower right leg in multiple locations. Those injuries were stabilised with a rod in the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones in the foot and ankle required screws and pins, Mahajan said in a statement released on Woods’ Twitter account late Tuesday night.

The lengthy surgery also reduced swelling. Woods was awake and recovering in his hospital room, the statement said.

A resident near the accident site called 911. A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, the first on the scene, poked his head through a hole in the windshield to see Woods, his seatbelt fastened, sitting in the driver’s seat.

The single-car crash was another setback for Woods, the preeminent golfer of his generation who has spent the last decade in a cycle of injuries, self-inflicted personal problems and an arrest for DUI. Each time, he returned to the course and won.

Even at 45, Woods is among the more recognisable sports figures in the world and remains golf’s biggest draw. His 2019 Masters victory was seen as a transcendent comeback and further cemented his reputation for toughness and clutch performances. Briefly Tuesday, the world paused and worried that Woods might be critically injured or worse. As it became clear that his life wasn’t in danger, the obvious question came out: Can he play golf again?

“As if his body hasn’t endured enough,” Jon Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Florida. “I just hope he can get out of the hospital after recovery and he can still play with his kids and have a normal life.”

No charges were filed, police said there was no evidence he was impaired and no one else was injured.

It was the 10th surgery for Woods, who has suffered knee, back and neck problems for more than a decade.

Friends and fellow athletes began sending their best wishes to Woods on social media.

Tennis legend Serena Williams sent her love to Woods and said they would get through this.

Former US president Barack Obama reminded everyone that they've learnt not to count him out.

Basketball player Stephen Curry set his prayers.

Former boxer Mike Tyson urged him to fight.

Singer Janet Jackson said she was praying for him.

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