Mendoza: The accident

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

TIGER Woods, who miraculously survived a horrific car crash this week, is definitely out of the April Masters, the year’s first major that began in 1934 at Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia.

Woods, the 15-time Grand Slam champion, had the luck of suffering non-life threatening injuries — leg fractures and a shattered ankle — in the single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles early morning of Feb. 24.

The mishap happened when the Genesis GV80 SUV that Woods was driving on loan — apparently in high speed — careened off the highway, hit a tree and rolled over several times before resting on a hillside.

Police, who estimated Woods’ speed at about 128 kph, said the downhill curve had previously recorded 13 crashes.

They said Woods was lucky to be alive and added his seat belt and the SUV’s 10 airbags contributed largely to his having escaped major injuries, let alone death.

Amazingly, when police officer Carlos Gonzales asked him who he was, Woods calmly answered, “Tiger.”

Luckily again for Woods, the UCLA hospital, one of the nation’s best in orthopedic concerns, was just minutes away from the scene. Doctors stitched his fractures together with pins, screws, bolts and metals.

But while the surgery may have been successful, Woods will probably need at least a year before he can play competitively again — if ever.

Before the crash, Woods was already unsure of playing the Masters, where he placed 34th in its rescheduled 2020 date last November due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Just last December, Woods underwent a back fusion surgery — his ninth operation, including four to repair his knees and four more on his back.

Before his December date with the knife, he won the 2019 Masters to end an 11-year losing spell in the majors in an astonishing feat considered as one of the greatest in sporting comebacks.

It earned him $2.07 million, the biggest in Masters’ history. That was the same amount pocketed by Dustin Johnson in winning the Masters last November.

Surely, Woods will miss aiming this April a record-equaling sixth Masters title held by Jack Nicklaus, the owner of the all-time best of 18 majors.

But at 45, isn’t Woods supposed to be done?

The accident could be a sign.