Tiger Woods was speeding before crashing SUV, sheriff says

National

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say Tiger Woods was speeding when he crashed an SUV in Southern California less than two months ago, leaving him seriously injured.

The golf superstar was driving 84 to 87 mph on a downhill stretch of road outside Los Angeles that had a speed limit of 45 mph, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday.

The stretch of road is known for wrecks and drivers hitting speeds so high that there is an emergency exit for runaway vehicles just beyond where Woods crashed.

Villanueva blamed the Feb. 23 crash solely on excessive speed and Woods’ loss of control behind the wheel.

Detectives did not seek search warrants for the athlete’s blood samples, which could have been screened for drugs or alcohol. Investigators, however, did search the SUV’s data recorder, known as a black box, in the days after the crash.

Woods is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries.

Originally from the Los Angeles area, Woods had been back home in February to host his PGA tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament when he struck a raised median. The SUV crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Authorities planned to announce Wednesday what caused Tiger Woods to crash an SUV in February in Southern California, a wreck that seriously injured the golf superstar.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously said detectives had determined the cause of the crash, but he would not release it, citing privacy concerns and a purported need for Woods’ permission to divulge information.

The sheriff planned to discuss the findings of the investigation, including “causal factors,” during a news conference Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether Woods had any involvement in the expected announcement.

Documents show that Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and did not remember driving. At the time of the wreck, Woods was recovering from a fifth back surgery, which took place two months earlier.

Woods, who is originally from the Los Angeles area, had been back home to host his PGA tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, when the crash happened on Feb. 23.

He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament when he struck a raised median in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The SUV crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch that police said is known for wrecks.

The athlete is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries. Woods has never gone an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in high school.

Rory McIlroy, a four-time major golf champion who lives near Woods, said he visited him on March 21.

“Spent a couple hours with him, which was nice. It was good to see him,” McIlroy said Tuesday from the Masters. “It was good to see him in decent spirits. When you hear of these things and you look at the car and you see the crash, you think he’s going to be in a hospital bed for six months. But he was actually doing better than that.”

In the weeks after the crash, the sheriff called it “purely an accident” and said there was no evidence of impairment.

Detectives searched the data recorder of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, known as a black box. Investigators did not seek a search warrant, however, for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs and alcohol.

In 2017, Woods checked himself into a clinic for help in dealing with prescription drug medication after a DUI charge in Florida, where he currently lives.

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Associated Press Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed from Augusta, Georgia

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