Tiger Woods sustained facial cuts in a minor car accident early Friday when his SUV hit a fire hydrant and a neighbour’s tree as he was leaving his mansion in a gated waterfront community near Orlando, Fla.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the 33-year-old PGA Tour star was alone in his 2009 Cadillac when he pulled out of his driveway at 2:25 a.m.
The patrol reported Woods’ injuries as serious, although Woods spokesman Glenn Greenspan said the golfer was treated at a hospital and released in good condition.
Windermere mayor Gary Bruhn said police from the village were among the first on the scene and saw Woods with cuts on his face.
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’ website.
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 injuries are considered serious if they require more than minor medical attention.
Montes said air bags in the SUV did not deploy.
Investigators still have not had a chance to speak to golf’s No. 1 player, 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’ US$2.4-million home is part of the exclusive Isleworth subdivision near Orlando, a community set on an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and a chain of small lakes.
The neighbourhood, 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 neighbour’s yard. The tree had a few scuff marks but was largely unscathed.
Woods, who has won 82 times around the world and 14 majors, attended the Stanford-Cal football game, where he tossed the coin at the start of the game and was inducted into Stanford’s sports Hall of Fame at halftime.
He won six times this year after missing eight months recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Even though he failed to win a major, Woods said he considered this a successful year because he did not know how his knee would respond.