CNN Sports Reporter Andy Scholes was forced to apologize over comments he made live on air Tuesday about the horrific car wreck involving the 15-time major winner.
Woods, 45, had to be cut from the wreckage before undergoing emergency surgery on his right leg, ankle and foot after his SUV flipped multiple times along a black spot road in Los Angeles Tuesday morning.
Scholes immediately drew parallels between the accident and Woods’ infamous 2017 DUI arrest where he was caught behind the wheel with five types of drugs in his system, despite the cause of this week’s crash still being under investigation.
CNN Sports Reporter Andy Scholes (top right) has sparked outrage for saying he was ‘not entirely surprised’ by Tiger Woods’ horror car crash because ‘painkillers have become part of his life’
‘Stunned, I guess, but not entirely surprised by what we’re seeing here,’ Scholes told anchor Brianna Keilar.
‘Tiger, back in 2017, was found by police pulled over to the side of the road, asleep in his car.
‘He had said he had taken a lot of painkillers at that time because we all know Tiger has undergone a lot of surgeries over the years and painkillers have become a part of his life.’
Scholes faced a backlash on social media for bringing up Woods’ past substance abuse while the extent of Woods’ injuries were still unclear.
One viewer slammed his comments ‘disgusting’ and ‘completely insensitive.’
‘I think it was completely insensitive that at the breaking news about Tigers accident the first thing you brought up were his past injuries,pain killers and alcohol. It was disgusting,’ they wrote.
Other viewers fumed that it was a ‘low-life statement’ to dredge up the golf star’s past as his condition was ‘uncertain’.
‘how can you say this @TigerWoods crash was no surprise because of his past? What a low-life statement,’ one person tweeted.
‘Damn man you really said all that about a man whose condition is uncertain, wow! you don’t belong on cnn!!’ another wrote.
Others hit out at Scholes for speculating on the cause of the crash without any evidence that Woods had drugs in his system.
Scholes (pictured) immediately drew parallels between the accident and Woods’ infamous 2017 DUI arrest where he was caught behind the wheel with five types of drugs in his system, despite the cause of this week’s crash still being under investigation
Woods, 45, had to be cut from the wreckage (pictured) before undergoing emergency surgery on his right leg, ankle and foot after his SUV flipped multiple times along a black spot road in Los Angeles Tuesday morning
Woods during the second round of The Memorial Tournament on July 17, 2020 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio
‘Can you not at least give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s turned his life around and not on pain killers. But instead it is the first thing you bring up and say you aren’t shocked about his accident because of his past use of them,’ one person tweeted.
‘Just not the time or place. Particularly now, when false information spreads like wild fire,’ wrote another.
Another person agreed: ‘Didn’t seem fair, in these early hours, for you to bring up ‘pain pills’ as the very first thing you ‘thought of’ when you heard about Tiger.’
Following the uproar, Scholes backpedaled on his comments, responding to several of the tweets with an apology.
‘Sorry didn’t mean for it to come out that way,’ he wrote to several social media users.
‘Completely agree. Again sorry for the way that came out,’ he replied to one person.
The cause of Tuesday’s crash remains under investigation but authorities have said there was no immediate signs of ‘impairment.’
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez of the LA County Sheriff’s Department said he ‘didn’t see any evidence of impairment’ and that Woods did not seem obviously intoxicated when he was first to arrive on the scene.
Scholes faced a backlash on social media for bringing up Woods’ past substance abuse while the extent of Woods’ injuries were still unclear
Sheriff Alex Villanueva doubled down on this Tuesday saying: ‘There was no evidence of impairment. There was no effort to draw blood or anything like that.’
He added that the car was traveling at ‘a greater speed than normal’ but said the location of the crash is a black spot for vehicular accidents.
‘That area has a high frequency of accidents,’ he said.
The LA Sheriff’s Department does not take blood tests at the scene of accidents but investigators will test whether the golf star had drugs or alcohol in his system as a matter of routine.
Woods was infamously arrested for a DUI near his home in Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2017.
The golf star, who had undergone spinal fusion surgery just weeks earlier in a bid to save his sports career, was found slumped asleep at the wheel of his car.
It later emerged that Woods had five prescription drugs in his system at the time: Hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication; Hydromorphone, another painkiller; Alprazolam, an anxiety drug; Zolpidem, a sleep drug; and Delta-9 carboxy THC, which is found in marijuana.
Following the uproar, Scholes backpedaled on his comments, responding to several of the tweets with an apology
WHAT INJURIES DOES TIGER WOODS HAVE?
Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA hospital where Woods is being treated, 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, without elaborating further.
In order to treat the injuries, Mahajan said a metal rod was inserted into Woods’ tibia which is being stabilized with rods and pins.
Additional screws and pins have been inserted into his foot and ankle, Mahajan added.
Membranes covering Woods’ leg muscles were also cut to relieve pressure in the leg from swelling, he said.
He described the injuries as ‘serious’, and could not give a prognosis or say whether Woods will be able to play golf again.
Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and spent 11 months on probation and entered rehab for painkiller addiction.
The golf star was also involved in a late-night car crash in 2009.
Woods crashed his car into a row of hedges and a fire hydrant before coming to rest when it struck a tree after he had been chased from his Florida home by his then-wife Elin Nordegren who had learned of his affair with Rachel Uchitel.
The Florida Highway Patrol said at the time that alcohol was not considered a factor in the accident but the crash and surrounding infidelity scandals damaged his reputation.
Woods’ battle with painkiller addiction came amid a career plagued by injuries with the star’s latest bout of surgery Tuesday at least the 10th major operation he has undergone over the years.
Back in 2008 he famously won the US Open despite playing with two stress fractures and a torn ligament in his left leg, which required surgery the day after his win.
Continuing problems with his leg and damage to his elbow forced him to take several breaks from golf over the next few years, until he began suffering back problems in August 2013.
While Woods played through the pain for months, he eventually ruled himself out of The Masters in 2014 – the first time in his career that he had missed the tournament – so he could have surgery on a trapped nerve.
Despite the operation, Woods’ problems persisted and in September the following year he went for more surgery – followed rapidly by another operation in October which left him facing a ‘long and tedious’ recovery.
In April the following year he underwent yet more surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine together which left him on painkillers which eventually led to him being found slumped over the wheel of his car.
Overcoming doubts that he would ever be able to swing a club again, Woods battled to return to professional golf and made his first appearance at the Hero World Challenge in December 2018.
Against all the odds, he then went on to win his 15th major title at The Masters the following April in one of the greatest comebacks in sport.
But his injury problems persisted, and in August he had to undergo surgery to repair damage to his elbow.
In March 2020 he was forced to sit out the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship with back issues.
The badly-damaged vehicle, with its airbags inflated, was winched away on Tuesday afternoon
Tiger Woods is awake and recovering in hospital. Pictured his wrecked SUV Tuesday
Tiger Woods’ team issued a statement on Twitter around 9:30pm local time in California on Tuesday night detailing his injuries and treatment
In December last year he quietly underwent another procedure on his back, which was announced to the public in January this year.
Just two days before Tuesday’s crash, Woods spoke of his hopes of competing in the masters in April.
But his sports career is now in jeopardy as the golf star has had rods, screws and pins inserted into his leg, foot and ankle.
The medical team at the Harbor-UCLA hospital has described the golf star’s injuries as ‘serious’ and has not said whether Woods will ever be able to play golf again.
Woods was driving alone to meet NFL stars Drew Bees and Justin Herbert at a golf club where they were due to film for GolfTV when he rolled his Genesis GV80 at 7.12am on Tuesday morning.
Woods shattered his right leg and had to be pulled from the wreckage by firefighters.
In a statement on Woods’ Twitter Tuesday night, doctors at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said the 45-year-old suffered ‘comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones’ in the crash – meaning his shin and calf bones splintered into more than two pieces each and were left sticking through the skin.
He also sustained ‘additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle’, his doctors said, which had to be stabilized with screws and pins.
Woods was awake and recovering that night with his girlfriend Erica Herman by his bedside.