US & World

Authorities: Tiger Woods hurt in Fla. car crash

Honorary Stanford Cardinal captain Tiger Woods holds his daughter, Sam, and speaks to his wife, Elin Nordegren, on the sidelines before the Cardinal game against the California Bears at Stanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Palo Alto.
Honorary Stanford Cardinal captain Tiger Woods holds his daughter, Sam, and speaks to his wife, Elin Nordegren, on the sidelines before the Cardinal game against the California Bears at Stanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Palo Alto.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Tiger Woods was injured in a car accident early Friday outside his Florida mansion, and a local police chief said his wife used a golf club to smash out the back window and help get the world's No. 1 golfer out of the SUV.

Woods was treated and released from a hospital in good condition, his spokesman said. The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods' vehicle hit a fire hydrant and a tree in his neighbor's yard as he pulled out of his driveway at 2:25 a.m.

Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor told The Associated Press that officers found the 33-year-old PGA star laying in the street with his wife, Elin, hovering over him.

She told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and "came out and broke the back window with a golf club."

Woods had lacerations to his upper and lower lips, and he had blood in his mouth, Saylor said.

The chief said Woods was in and out of consciousness when his two officers arrived. He said the officers held Woods to the ground and "when he woke up, he tried to get up and lost consciousness."

He said officers treated Woods for 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Woods was alone in his 2009 Cadillac when he pulled out of his driveway from his mansion at Isleworth, a gated waterfront community just outside Orlando.

The patrol reported Woods' injuries as serious, although Woods spokesman Glenn Greenspan issued a statement that Woods was treated and released.

The patrol said alcohol was not involved, although the accident remains under investigation and charges could be filed.

Left unanswered was where Woods was going at that hour. Greenspan and agent Mark Steinberg said there would be no comment beyond the short statement of the accident on Woods' Web site.

Woods, coming off a two-week trip to China and Australia earlier this month, is host of the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif., which starts Thursday. He is scheduled to have his press conference Tuesday afternoon at Sherwood Country Club. Steinberg said he did not know if Woods planned to play next week.

The accident report was not released until nearly 12 hours after Woods was injured. Patrol spokesman Kim Montes said the accident did not meet the criteria of a serious crash, and the FHP only put out a press release because of inquiries from local media.

Montes said the patrol reports injuries as serious if they require more than minor medical attention.

Air bags in the SUV did not deploy.

Investigators still have not had a chance to speak to Woods, but when they do, "we will ask him everything," Montes said. "We just haven't had a chance to do so because he was being medically treated."

Montes said charges could be filed if there was a clear traffic violation, although troopers still do not know what caused Woods' SUV to hit the hydrant and the tree.

Woods' $2.4 million home is part of an exclusive subdivision near Orlando, a community set on an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and a chain of small lakes. The neighborhood, which is fortified with high brick walls and has its own security force, is home to CEOs and other sports stars such as the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that an orange and white barricade sat on top of a hole in front of Woods' home. About 10 feet away, there was a tire track near an oak tree in his neighbor's yard. The tree had a few scuff marks but was largely unscathed.

Woods had planned to pursue his fifth Chevron World Challenge title at a tournament that starts Tuesday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. Proceeds from that tournament support the Tiger Woods Foundation, including the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Orange County. Woods graduated from Western High School in Anaheim 15 years ago.

Just last Sunday, Stanford University inducted Woods into its hall of fame. The golfer was a two-time first-team All-American and NCAA Individual Champion at the Palo Alto school in 1996, the year he turned pro. His work ethic is legendary – he routinely set his alarm for 5 in the morning and has said to fans, "Golf knows no off-season."

His idea of a perfect day is to surf, ski, play golf and go spear-fishing in the same day. Knee surgery sidelined him from the professional golf tour for much of last year, but he's returned to the circuit this year.

He's married to the former Elin Nordegren and is the father of two small sons, Sam and Charlie. The 33-year-old Woods was born in Cypress to Kultida and Earl Woods. His mixed-race heritage includes Thai and African-American roots. Many people on and off the links regard him as a racial and social pathbreaker. Woods, whose given name is Eldrick, names his late father who was his first golf coach, his mother and Nelson Mandela as his inspirations.

Woods' official Web site lists him as the winner of 93 tournaments, 71 of those on the PGA Tour. He owns homes in Windemere, Florida – where he was injured when his vehicle hit a fire hydrant and a tree near his house – and also in California, Wyoming and Sweden, his wife's native country.


Doug Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Fla. Associated Press writers Tamara Lush and Lisa Orkin Emmanuel in Miami contributed to this report.

This story incorporates information from the Associated Press. Portions of this story © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.