Update: Golfing champion will not face criminal charges

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters title in 2019

Tiger Woods will not face any criminal charges following the single-car crash he was involved in on Tuesday that left him with serious injuries.

The US golfing champion was driving alone on a Los Angeles downhill stretch of road known for crashes, his SUV hit the central reservation, crossed into the opposite lane, rolled over several times and then plunged off the road and down an embankment. He is recovering after surgery to his fractured leg and shattered ankle. “A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements into it, this is purely an accident,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters, there no evidence Woods was impaired by drugs or alcohol, he added. “He was not drunk,” he said on Wednesday. “We can throw that one out.”

He added the most Woods could face would be a low-level offence known as an infraction if investigators concluded that he was speeding or not paying attention, the AFP news agency reports. Woods underwent surgery on his leg after he was removed from the wreck of his car by firefighters and paramedics, he suffered fractures on the tibia and fibula bones in his lower right leg. Injuries to his foot and ankle have been stabilised with screws and pins. On Wednesday, Mr Villanueva said of the road where the accident happened: “Because it is downhill, it slopes and curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents. It is not uncommon.” He said the car hit a kerb, a tree and rolled over several times. Woods, who had been recovering from a fifth round of back surgery in January, was in Los Angeles to host last week’s Genesis Invitational PGA Tour event and was driving one of the tournament cars when he crashed.

It is not the first time Woods has been in a car accident. He was involved in a car crash in November 2009 which eventually led to admissions of infidelity and the breakdown of his marriage. He then took a break from golf, but returned shortly afterwards. Following five wins in 2013, Woods started just 24 events in the next four years because of chronic back pain and multiple surgeries. In 2017, he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car, he later pleaded guilty to reckless driving. He had five prescription drugs in his system as he recovered from the spinal fusion surgery that ultimately gave him a second golfing career. Woods ended an 11-year wait to claim a 15th major title when he won the Masters at Augusta National for a fifth time in 2019.

He jointly holds the record for most PGA Tour wins at 82 with Sam Snead and is three behind Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18 major titles. Woods recently said he had hoped to recover from his back surgery in time to play in this year’s Masters in April, he ended 2019 sixth in golf’s world rankings, but is now 50th.

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