CLOSE SHAVE: Worlds’ Billionaire Golfer Tiger Woods Survives Horror Crash

The severe damage, on the car which Tiger Woods, was driving, after it rolled over in Los Angeles on Tuesday. PHOTO/AFP

LOS ANGELES. — Tiger Woods dominated news headlines yesterday, as the world followed every update of his surgery, after a horror car crash, from which he was lucky to have escaped with his life.

The world’s first billionaire golfer — who Nike built their entire golf business on — Woods is probably the most famous sportsman in the world.

He suffered a shattered ankle, and two leg fractures, and he underwent what was described as a “long surgical procedure,’’ at the Habour-UCLA Medical Centre.

While his injuries are not life-threatening, as he was responsive yesterday, concern remains about whether he can recover, and play golf, as an elite athlete again.

After a career filled with remarkable comebacks, Woods faces perhaps his toughest recovery of all.

He was driving alone, through a sweeping, downhill stretch of road, through coastal suburbs of Los Angeles, when his SUV struck a sign, crossed over a raised median, and two oncoming lanes, flipped several times before coming to rest on its side.

Its airbags deployed.

A sheriff’s deputy poked his head through a hole in the windshield to see Woods, still wearing his seatbelt, sitting in the driver’s seat.

“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said Carlos Gonzalez, the deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who was the first on the scene.

Asked if Woods was aware of his injuries, the officer said: “He didn’t mention anything. I don’t think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time.

“It could be a mixture of adrenaline. It could have been shock.

“Again, it was very quick — the moment I arrived from the moment he rolled over — so I don’t know if he had time to fully assess his injuries.”

Woods’s 2021 Genesis SUV was found 12m from the road.

Aerial footage showed the car on its side, with its front end heavily damaged and its airbags deployed.

Asked if Woods was saying anything at that point, the officer replied: “He wasn’t. I saw his eyes, because it was dark in there, and my first role as a first responder is to assess the passenger, the occupants of the vehicle, and I want to keep them calm as well.”

He asked Woods if he could tell him his first name: “He looked at me and he said, ‘Tiger’.”

“It took me a half second, but I saw his face and I thought, oh yeah, you’re Tiger Woods,” continued the officer.

He asked the golfer questions to assess his physical and mental state. He seemed calm.

“He didn’t seem like he was in distress, and he was able to kind of talk to me a little bit,” the officer said.

“I noticed the passenger compartment seemed mostly intact and he didn’t seem like he was in any further danger.

“I did consider pulling him out myself, but I decided it would be better to wait for the fire departments since they have the specialised tools, and training, to remove people safely from vehicles like that.

“This accident was traumatic in many ways, I think that is a testament to the fact that he was wearing a seat belt, the airbags worked as intended and modern vehicles are much safer than they used to be.”

The crash happened on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes on Tuesday morning.

“Whether Tiger Woods ever plays another golf tournament is irrelevant now,’’ wrote Mark Cannizzaro in the New York Post. “The Masters in April? Who cares?

“His pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships? So what?

“What matters most, in the wake of his horrific car accident on Tuesday in the Los Angeles area, is not Tiger Woods the golfer, but Tiger Woods the human being.’’

Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbour-UCLA hospital, revealed he has suffered ‘comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones.’

That means the bones — more commonly known as the shinbone and calf bone — have splintered into more than two pieces, and have come through the skin.

Woods also suffered “additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle,’’ Mahajan said.

He described the injuries as “serious,’’ and could not give a prognosis or say whether Woods will be able to play golf again.

The car crash marked the latest chapter in 15-time major winner’s turbulent life, following his meteoric rise to worldwide fame, spectacular fall from grace and epic 2019 comeback.

Shocking images of Wood’s damaged car provided a stark flashback to his 2009 crash when he hit a fire hydrant outside his Orlando, Florida, home.

That came after he was chased out of his house by then wife Elin Nordegren, over his numerous affairs, and eventually led to admissions of infidelity and drug use.

He was arrested for a Driving Under the Influence, with five different kinds of drugs in his system in 2017, leading to Woods taking an “indefinite break’’ from golf before his stunning comeback at the 2019 Masters.

That journey to redemption had been an arduous one for Woods.

Now, just months after a new HBO documentary heard from his mistress Rachel Uchitel for the first time, Woods is back in the headlines after crashing while driving alone near Rancho Palos Verdes when his Genesis GV80 flipped over.

A Timeline Of Personal Challenges

April 2008 — Woods takes two months off to recover after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, and to allow two stress fractures in his left tibia to heal

June — Battling through his leg pain, Woods claims victory at the US Open before having surgery to repair a torn ACL and more cartilage damage, which forced him to take nine months off

May 2010 — Woods withdraws from the Players Championship after suffering neck pain which turned out to be an inflamed facet joint that kept him off the course for a few weeks

April 2011 — He withdraws from the Wells Fargo Championship as a ‘precaution’ after suffering pain in his left leg

May — A sprained medial collateral ligament and strained Achilles tendon in his left leg force Woods to take three months off

March 2012 — Woods withdraws from the WGC-Cadillac Championship with a problem in his left Achilles tendon

June 2013 — An elbow strain forces Woods to take several weeks off

August — A series of back spasms leave Woods hunched on all fours during his final round of The Barclays

March 2014 — Woods withdraws during the Honda Classic and pulls out of the Arnold Palmer Classic after his back problems resurface

April — For the first time in his career, Woods says he won’t feature at the Masters after having surgery for a pinched nerve in his back

August — Woods is evidently in pain while playing at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, and takes a fouth-month break

February 2015 — Woods withdraws from the Farmers Insurance Open with back problems, and takes a two-month break — AP/Sporting News/SkySports/Mailonline.

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