Timeline: Tiger Woods seriously in car crash while recovering from fifth back surgery

Tiger Woods was hospitalized on Tuesday after suffering multiple leg injuries in a single-car crash in Southern California. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that Woods was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.  

The news comes just days after his appearance at the Genesis Invitational at Riveria Country Club and two months after announcing he’d undergone back surgery. This was the fifth operation that Woods, 45, has had on his back and the first since a spinal-fusion surgery in April 2017. 

It’s the latest in a long line of off-the-course struggles for Woods. He has undergone innumerable surgeries and faced a variety of non-golf related incidents over the last decade. Here is a timeline of them all, starting with his surgery immediately following his last major win in 2008.

June 2008 — ACL surgery: Woods won six times in 2009 following surgery. He finished in the top 10 in three of the four majors but couldn’t get a win. His play on the course would be the highlight of his year, unfortunately.

November 2009 — Thanksgiving car crash: It was probably the most infamous off-field incident for any athlete in the 21st century. Woods crashed his Escalade outside his Florida home, and the fallout that ensued included minor injuries and major damage to his public image as a litany of women claimed extramarital affairs with Woods. Tiger would eventually go to rehab for sexual addiction, take several months off from golf, lose a number of sponsors and reemerge to finish T4 at the 2010 Masters. 

August 2010 — Divorce: Woods and now ex-wife Elin Nordegren split after nearly seven years of marriage. Woods revealed recently that the two are actually still close as they share custody of their children Sam and Charlie.

April 2011, March 2012 — Leg injuries: After the 2011 Masters, Woods withdrew from the Players Championship and misses a few months with injuries to his MCL and Achilles. He missed two events the following March from similar injuries and the beginning of his back spasms.

April 2014 — Back surgery No. 1: The first of what would eventually be four total back surgeries for Woods. This one was a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that caused him to miss the 2014 Masters and two additional events in March. He has only played in one Masters since.

September 2015 — Back surgery No. 2: This surgery was a bit of a surprise as Woods had just contended at the Wyndham Championship. It was a follow-up to the 2015 surgery, though. The words “a second microdiscectomy surgery” are never ones you want to hear as a professional athlete.

October 2015 — Back surgery No. 3: Woods underwent a minor follow-up to his September surgery.

December 2016 — The return: After the Hero World Golf Challenge in the Bahamas, everything seemed so hopeful for Woods after he took more than a year off. He’d just tied the field lead in birdies made, and his back seemed like it was allowing him to move freely despite the three surgeries that he’d had in the last few years. The year 2017 looked as if it was going to be one of the best in a long time for Woods. That now feels like a long time ago.

April 2017 — Back surgery No. 4: After withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic in February, Woods announced that he had spinal fusion surgery in April even though he was preparing to compete in the 2017 Masters. The surgery was apparently a success as Woods noted that he has not felt this good in years just last week on his website.

May 2017 — Early-morning DUI: In maybe the saddest of all the incidents, Woods was arrested at 3 a.m. on Memorial Day and booked just after 7 a.m. at the Palm Beach County Jail. He was released just before 11 a.m. on the same day.

December 2020 — Back surgery No. 5: After a run of good health and great golf that included a 2019 year with two wins, most notably the 2019 Masters and six top-10 finishes, Woods’ game took a step back in 2020. In December 2020, Woods announced he had undergone a microdiscectomy procedure on his back to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve. The surgery put his golf schedule on pause, though at the time of the announcement, he hoped for a return to action in the 2021 season. 

February 2021 — Single-car accident in California: Woods underwent surgery on Feb. 23, 2021 to repair “multiple leg injuries” sustained during a single-vehicle crash in California. 


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