Tiger Woods was "very fortunate" to survive a car crash in California that left the golf superstar with serious leg injuries and question marks hanging over his career. (More Sports News)
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) deputy Carlos Gonzalez said Woods was wearing a seatbelt that may have saved his life.
The 15-time major winner underwent surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after an early morning crash that saw his car roll "several hundred feet", according to LASD sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Deputy Gonzalez arrived at the scene at 07:18 local time, six minutes after an emergency call came in, and said he spoke to Woods who was "calm and lucid".
He had to be pulled from his car, a new Genesis SUV, with specialist equipment and an axe required to get full access to the 45-year-old.
Deputy Gonzalez said: "The nature of his vehicle, and the fact he was wearing a seatbelt, greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life.
"I will say it's very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive."
CNN reported Woods has suffered compound fractures to both legs, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Explaining the situation that he came across, Deputy Gonzalez said Woods was trapped inside his vehicle but conscious, adding: "I asked him what his name was; he told me his name was Tiger and at that moment I immediately recognised him."
The incident occurred on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, with Woods travelling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road.
Deputy Gonzalez said the location was a "hot spot for traffic collisions as well as speed"; however, he did not say Woods had been speeding.
Sheriff Villanueva said the deputies that responded to the crash "did not see any sign of impairment, anything of concern".
Speaking at a news conference, he added that Woods' vehicle had "travelled several hundred feet from the centre divider of the intersection and rested on the west side of the road, in the brush".
It had sustained "major damage", he added. US television networks showed video of the crash scene, which showed a car on its side.
Sheriff Villanueva said there would be a traffic investigation that "will take days to several weeks to get the whole thing together".
He said the circumstances may indicate the car was "going at a relatively greater speed than normal", explaining Woods "hit a curve, hit a tree and there were several rollovers in that process".
Barbara and I just heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everyone else, we are deeply concerned. We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time. Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery.— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) February 23, 2021
Five-time Masters champion Woods underwent surgery on his "multiple" injuries, agent Mark Steinberg confirmed.
Sheriff Villanueva spoke of the damage to the car, and how Woods might have lost his life.
He said: "The front end was totally destroyed, bumpers, everything destroyed, airbags deployed, all of that.
"Thankfully the interior was more or less intact, which kind of gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would have been a fatal crash."