Golfing great Tiger Woods has had surgery for leg injuries suffered in a serious car crash in the Los Angeles.
It was initially reported that fire crews used the “jaws of life” to extricate Woods via the vehicle’s windscreen after it rolled and suffered major damage.
Police later confirmed it was tools and an axe.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7.15am Tuesday (local time), crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled over several times.
“The vehicle sustained major damage,” a statement said.
“The driver and sole occupant was identified as PGA golfer Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.
“The traffic investigation is being conducted by investigators from LASD Lomita Station.”
No other cars were involved. Woods was alert, able to communicate and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out.
“No skidmarks, no braking, so apparently the first contact was with the centre median, and from there, it crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit a kerb, hit a tree and there were several rollovers during that process,” Sheriff Alex Villaneuva said.
“It across the centre divider to rest several hundred feet away … However, because it is downhill, it slopes and also it curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents.”
However, he said Woods appeared to have been travelling at a “relatively greater speed than normal”.
“Thankfully the interior [of the car] was more or less intact, which kind of gave him the cushion to survive of what otherwise would of been a fatal crash,” Mr Villanueva said.
The sportsman was taken to a local hospital by ambulance in “a stable condition with a serious injury,” Los Angeles police said.
“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries,” his manager, Mark Steinberg, said.
“He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”
A news helicopter over the scene of Woods’ accident showed a car on its side with the front end heavily damaged. Air bags appeared to be deployed. The wreckage appeared to be just off the side of a road on a hillside.
Good wishes began flowing for the injured golfer shortly after news of his accident broke. Among the first was former US president Donald Trump, himself a keen golfer.
“Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion,” he said in a statement released on social media by one of his advisers.
Mr Trump awarded Woods the US’s highest civilian honour, the Medal of Freedom, in a ceremony at the White House in 2019. At the time, he called the five-time Masters winner “a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive”.
Fellow golfer Justin Thomas was the first player to sit for a media conference at the WGC Championships in Florida after news of the accident became public.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” a visibly upset Thomas said.
“It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident, and man, I just hope he’s all right. I just worry for his kids. I’m sure they’re struggling.”
Fellow golfing great Jack Nicklaus offered “heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time”.
Nike, a long-time Woods sponsor, said in a statement: “We are following the news around Tiger and our thoughts and heart are with him and his family at this time.”
Woods, who lives in Florida, was in Los Angeles to host the Genesis Invitational golf tournament.