Tragic Details About Tiger Woods

Professional golfer Tiger Woods has been through the wringer regarding his health issues and public scandals. But perhaps the most tragic incident to take place occurred on Feb. 23, 2021, when he was involved in a car accident in which the vehicle rolled over, and he needed emergency surgery, according to People. Law enforcement said Woods needed help escaping from the wreckage and "was not able to stand under his own power," per The Los Angeles Times.

Amid worry about his condition, his Twitter account released a statement assuring fans he is "awake, responsive, and recovering." Concerning the state of his injuries, the update read, "[He] suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery." Additionally, "open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into" his leg, and a "combination of screws and pins" stabilized the bones in his foot and ankle.

As Woods recuperated in the hospital, some with medical knowledge expressed their doubts about him ever hitting the golf course again. However, this wasn't the first time the athlete had dealt with injury or hardship — keep scrolling for more details about his at times complicated life.

Tiger Woods has a history of knee injuries

With great success sometimes comes great pain, and Tiger Woods is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Despite being one of the best, if not THE best at what he does, the professional golfer has sustained multiple injuries throughout his career. At 18, Woods underwent knee surgery to remove two benign tumors and scar tissue. However, that didn't stop him from becoming a pro, per The Washington Post. He went under the knife to treat his left knee again in 2002 to remove a benign cyst and fluid around a ligament. In 2007, he ruptured his left ACL — however, he ultimately finished the season before having arthroscopic surgery to repair the cartilage in 2008.

Additionally, he tore his right Achilles' tendon in 2010, among other injuries, which caused him to withdraw from the Players Championship in 2011. His leg problems seemed to subside, but in 2019 he underwent ligament surgery to repair damages in his left knee.

Although some might argue sustaining injuries is par for the course in sports, that doesn't mean it is easy. And we can't imagine how Woods must have felt with the injuries from the 2021 car accident after years of struggling with pain and surgeries.

Tiger Woods struggled with back problems, too

In addition to struggling with various knee injuries, Tiger Woods also suffered from back pain. In 2010, an inflamed facet joint in Woods' neck led him to skip the final round of the Players Championship, per The Washington Post. He later suffered from back spasms in the middle of a competition in 2013, causing him to fall to his knees. He sat out the 2014 Honda Classic due to his back pain and had to miss that year's Masters after having surgery for a pinched nerve in his back. 

But wait, that's not all. The following year, the star underwent two more back surgeries, and in 2017, a fourth procedure took place. Just three years later, Woods had a microdiscectomy in 2020 to remove "a pressurized disc fragment," which caused "discomfort." It's unclear whether his 2021 accident caused any more damage to his already problematic back. 

Of course, medical issues can be emotionally taxing as they are physical.

Tigers Woods' divorce became a media spectacle

Aside from his accomplishments as an athlete, Tiger Woods' personal life affected his public image as a wholesome golfer. In November 2009, he got accused of having an affair with well-known New Yorker Rachel Uchitel, first reported by the National Enquirer. Just two days later, Woods was in a car accident outside of his Florida home, where he collided with a fire hydrant, trees, and bushes. His wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, helped him out of the wreckage by using one of his golf clubs to break him free from the vehicle, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Despite receiving a ticket for careless driving, Woods came out unharmed after the accident but faced great scrutiny. He later issued a statement taking responsibility for the crash, according to The New York Times.

Shortly after, more women came forward claiming they had affairs with the married golfer, in addition to an alleged voicemail he left for one of his mistresses that was made public, per Us Weekly. He released another statement admitting to his infidelity and announced, "an indefinite break from professional golf."

Finally — in what some might assume was uncomfortable for the golf pro — he held a press conference addressing the dramatic situation. "It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made," Woods said in 2010. "It's up to me to start living a life of integrity."

Tiger Woods lost crucial support following the scandal

Following Tiger Woods' cheating scandal, he lost the support of several of his sponsors, including Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, and General Motors, according to The Guardian. Other sponsors like Gillette and TAG Heuer suspend advertising the athlete in their products, and Golf Digest magazine suspended his monthly column for the publication. However, he still had the support of Nike and Electronic Arts. A study later revealed that the controversy cost sponsors around $12 billion in losses, per the New York Daily News.

Perhaps the losses inspired (at least partly) Woods' 2010 press conference. "I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to," he admitted during the televised event. "I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled, and thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them." He added, "I was wrong, and I was foolish."

He and Elin Nordegren — with whom he shares two children — divorced in August 2010 after six years of marriage, per ABC News. Woods later returned to golf in time for the 2010 Masters.

Inside Tiger Woods' problems with pain medication

Nearly seven years after Tiger Woods' marital controversy, the golfer found himself under intense scrutiny again. This time it stemmed from his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence, according to ABC News. He was found asleep in his car, which was running and in the middle of traffic.

In a statement, he revealed he had taken pain medication after having back surgery and didn't realize the drugs would impair his driving. "I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions," he said at the time, per the outlet. "I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly." He later took to Twitter, revealing he was "receiving professional help to manage my medications and ways that I deal with back pain and a sleep disorder." Woods pled not guilty to the DUI and guilty to reckless driving, according to the Chicago Tribune. He got sentenced to probation, a fine, community service, and regular drug testing.

As for the 2021 crash, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a Facebook Live chat (via CNN), "We don't contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash. This remains an accident. An accident is not a crime. They do happen unfortunately."

Tiger Woods managed to beat the odds

As an extremely focused and accomplished professional golfer, the reality of being bedridden for any period of time is a difficult pill to swallow. Tiger Woods was out of commission for three months following his car accident in 2021 as he healed from the surgeries aimed at the damage to his lower body. He revealed to GOLF that his own determination of moving on to crutches was a quicker timeline than what his doctors had in mind during rehab.

He shared a brief update for fans on Instagram after some progress, appearing in a photo up and about in crutches next to his dog Bugs. "[I]t's nice to have a faithful rehab partner, man's best friend," he wrote in the caption. Bugs and Lola — Woods' other Border Collie — help the golfer when practicing at home by retrieving balls, according to Golf Digest, which is a big help for recovery.

Pushing physical limits is nothing new for Woods, but after the serious damage to his leg — which then greatly affects his back — he relied on consistent practice to gauge his abilities before heading back into tournament-mode. He explained to GOLF, "I've got to be good enough to do it, okay? So I've got to prove to myself in practice that I'm good enough."

Tiger Woods comeback hasn't been painless, though

A year following the brutal crash that led to serious reconstructing of his leg, Tiger Woods stepped onto the green at the 2022 Masters. At 46, the golf pro still held star power in competition and he assured ESPN about his return, "I can hit just fine. Walking is the hard part." His struggle with pain was apparent throughout — swings followed by grabbing at his back and at times relying on his driver to give relief to his leg by using it as a cane.

He celebrated the fact that being able to compete is in itself a win, but in true Woods fashion, he is always looking toward securing a victory — even in his pained state. In an interview with TIME, he touched on pushing through pain, noting that with all of his injuries and related surgeries, playing through extreme discomfort has become an unfortunate part of the process. To excel in his sport, the pain-blocking ability does him well in competition, but he admitted that this has worsened injuries in the past. Returning in even worse shape to the Masters definitely required a focus on physical therapies and properly warming up.

Woods shared what his preparation would be like heading into each round with Masters Radio on SiriusXM. To feel "activated" and combat the swelling and pain, he detailed, "Lots of treatment, lots of ice, lots of ice baths, just you know basically freezing myself to death."