The single-car crash that left Tiger Woods with significant injuries to his right leg has been ruled an accident and no charges are expected to be laid, Los Angeles police says.
- The continuing investigation will look into whether speed was a factor
- Woods underwent several hours of surgery for injuries to his right leg and ankle
- Medical experts said it would be very unlikely for Woods to return as a professional golfer
“We don’t contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash,” LA County Sheriff Alex Vllanueva said.
Mr Villanueva added that there was no evidence Woods was impaired.
“This remains an accident,” he said.
“Accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately.”
Woods, 45, was driving a 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV at the time of the crash on Tuesday morning local time.
The sheriff said Woods was driving at a speed that was “greater” than normal before the vehicle crossed the centre divider and rolled over before coming to a stop.
The continuing investigation will look into whether speed was a factor or if Woods was distracted.
The crash occurred just after 7:00am on the boundary of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in an area that is known for accidents, authorities said.
Woods ‘very unlikely’ to return to professional golf
Woods underwent “a long surgical procedure” at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre for extensive injuries to his right leg and ankle.
The chief medical officer at the hospital said the 15-time major winner suffered open fractures after shattering his tibia and fibula bones.
Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Joseph Patterson, of Keck Medicine at USC, said his recovery could take “months to years” and “may not complete”.
“We know that the injury to Tiger’s legs involves upper and lower portions of the tibia, his shinbone, the ankle and his foot. That means his ankle joints, the essential joints in his foot and possibly his knee may be affected,” Dr Patterson said.
“If these fractures involve the surfaces of those joints, meaning the cartilage and other tissues, his joints are at risk for deteriorating a little quicker than they otherwise.”
Dr Patterson said the fact that surgical release was required indicated that Woods had been subject to “incredibly severe trauma” and had been at risk of compartment syndrome, where pressure can build up inside muscle casing which stops blood from reaching the tissue.
Dr Michael Gardner, Orthopedic Trauma chief at Stanford Medical, said even with successful surgery, injuries like those Woods had suffered were often “life altering”.
“My patients who have these injuries, who are not elite athletes, I tell them we’re going to do everything we can to get the bone to heal, to avoid complications and to get you back to function as best we can,” Dr Gardner said.
He added that with Woods’s age and extensive injury history, it would be “very, very unlikely that he returns to be a professional golfer”.
“It really would be difficult for any golfer. But … his age, his multiple back issues, this is going to be a very long road ahead if he chooses to attempt to return to his previous level of golfing.”
Woods’s representatives issued a statement yesterday saying Woods was alert.
That’s all PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wanted to hear.
“We’re so thankful and so grateful to have read that statement last night and to know that he’s going to be okay is because all that really mattes here is his wellbeing, his recovery, his family, and he knows he’s got the support of everybody out here,” Mr Monahan said.
Mr Monahan shared his thoughts with reporters before the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession in the US state of Florida.