Fans of Tiger Woods expressed fears for the star just days before his potentially fatal accident.
As police confirmed the golfer’s seatbelt saved his life after losing control of his SUV at speed on Tuesday, worrying questions about his frame of mind began to swirl.
Wood was rushing to meet American Football stars Drew Bees and Justin Herbert at a golf club where they were due to film for GolfTV when he crashed, shattering his legs.
The star is said to have appeared “agitated and impatient” and almost smashed into a TV director’s car as he left an exclusive Los Angeles resort after becoming “blocked in” by another driver.
Today, the former British Open champion was “awake” and “recovering” following lengthy surgery that has left questions marks hanging over his future career.
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In a statement issued to his official Twitter page, Woods’ team updated his condition as girlfriend Erica Herman was thought to be at his bedside.
According to chief medical officer Anish Mahajan, the 15-times Major champion “suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre.”
The doctor went on to explain Woods suffered from “fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibular bones were stabilised by inserting a rod into” the athlete’s leg.
He also suffered “additional injuries” in his foot and ankle that have been stabilised with “a combination of screws and pins.”
Woods, whose life away from the course has been haunted by infidelity and trouble with the police, was already recovering from his fifth back surgery when he got behind the wheel on Tuesday morning.
By the time he was pulled from the vehicle by firefighters using a jemmy and axe, he could not stand.
The 45-year-old golf legend, estimated to be worth £585 million despite one of sport’s costliest divorces after wife Elin Nordegren divorced him for cheating, was involved in a single-vehicle accident near the Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, located in Los Angeles county.
The stretch of road is known as a notorious accident hotspot that has a 45mph speed limit.
Woods reportedly hit a raised central reservation at “speed”, smashed through a street sign, hit a tree and then flipped his loaned £50,000 Genesis GV80 SUV several times.
The vehicle came to rest in bushes at the side of the road where the star was found trapped inside by Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was alerted by a neighbour who heard the crash.
The officer said: “The nature of his vehicle, the fact that he was wearing a seat belt, I would say that it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life.
“It’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive.”
Speaking today, he added: “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’ve been shock.”
Gonzalez said he considered trying to free Woods from the SUV by himself but opted to wait for properly trained and equipped firefighters to arrive.
“Mr Woods seemed calm, he didn’t seem like he was in distress, and he was able to kind of talk to me a little bit, and I noticed the passenger compartment seemed mostly intact and he didn’t seem like he was in any further danger,” the deputy said.
On Sunday, however, viewers were concerned for Woods as he gave interviews and commentated at The Genesis Invitational at California’s Riviera Country Club.
Some said he appeared glassy-eyed and likened his looks to his police mugshot taken following his arrested for DUI in 2017.
Entertainment Tonight host Kevin Frazier said: “At that golf tournament on Sunday, Tiger’s appearance in the booth had a lot of people concerned. His eyes were puffy, and he said he was feeling stiff after a fifth back surgery.”
Woods assured fans all was well, saying: “I am feeling fine.
“I have one more MRI schedules. I am still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff you have to do for rehab.”
But fans were unable to hide the concern.
“Bloody hell. Tiger Woods looked absolutely fried in that interview just now,”
tweeted Will Trinkwon.
“Bloated, dull-looking face and sounded like he was speaking through a muffler.
Honestly, reckon this last surgery could be the end for him.”
“I am not overhyped about what I just saw from the great Tiger Woods. Think maybe he’s been sleeping since December?” added Sam Riggs Bozoian.
Don Johnston tweeted: “With all due respect, I don’t think golf misses him all that much anymore. His Masters win was fantastic, but he’ll never be close to what he was. Looking forward to seeing him on the Champions Tour.”
Others went further.
Messaging Woods directly golf nut Jrod NY tweeted: “Did you smoke a joint before the interview?
Scotty Eisy added: “Your eyes were hazy, Tiger.”
Lee Meyers also told Woods he “looked baked today.”
“Just me, or did Tiger Woods just look completely zoned out during that interview?” tweeted another golf fan.
However, basketball legend Dwyane Wade, who filmed with Woods on Monday, said he appeared normal and well.
Wood’s record behind the wheel is a far cry from that on the course that once saw him hold the title of world number one for an astonishing 605 weeks.
Tuesday’s accident came four years after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving after making a deal with Florida prosecutors to avoid going to prison for being found behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs.
The golfer, who recorded 82 PGA Tour wins, was in California for the tournament, which ended over the weekend.
He presented the trophy to winner Max Homa.
He stayed in the area as he was on a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/ GOLFTV, the magazine said.
Woods has not played competitively since December and had his fifth back surgery in January, a procedure called a microdiscectomy, to remove a pressurised disc fragment that was pinching a nerve.