Golf

On this day in 2021: Tiger Woods severely injured after car crash in California

Woods was recovering from back surgery and had been travelling alone at 7am local time when his SUV veered off the road at high speed.

Tiger Woods returned to golf after a life-threatening car crash
Tiger Woods returned to golf after a life-threatening car crash. Tiger Woods returned to golf after a life-threatening car crash (Jane Barlow/PA)

Golfing great Tiger Woods survived a potentially lethal car accident in California, on this day in 2021.

Woods was recovering from back surgery and had been travelling alone at 7am local time when his SUV veered off the road at high speed, colliding with the centre kerb and a tree before rolling several times at the road side.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reported that the incident would have been fatal if not for the interior unit of the vehicle, which remained intact and shielded Woods from the worst of the damage.

The 15-time major winner was found conscious and communicative at the scene, but still suffered multiple injuries and required an emergency operation at the nearby Harbor UCLA Medical Centre.

Woods later revealed the extent of the injuries to his right leg, which needed to be stabilised with a metal rod, screws and pins, and admitted amputation had been “on the table”.

He remained in hospital for three weeks before being released to continue rehabilitation at home in Florida and was inundated by public messages of support. He went on to thank fellow PGA Tour members for their acts of solidarity, which included several high profile players taking to the course in his trademark Sunday red.

Initially wheelchair bound, he later began walking with crutches but ruled out a full-time return to competitive golf during his first public press conference later that year.

“After my back fusion, I had to climb Mount Everest one more time. This time around, I don’t think I’ll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that’s OK,” he said.

“I can still participate in the game of golf. But as far as climbing the mountain again and getting all the way to the top, I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation of me.”

Nine months after his accident he competed at the PNC Championship alongside son Charlie. Woods set his sights on appearing at the 2022 Masters in Augusta and took the field for his big comeback.

Despite talking up his chances of a barely believable victory at the tournament, making the cut and finishing 47th on Sunday evening represented a significant success.