Tiger Woods Didn't Seem to Understand Severity of Injuries at First, Says First Responder

Tiger Woods didn't appear to immediately understand the severity of the injuries that he sustained in Tuesday's car crash, according to the first responder who initially arrived at the scene of the accident.

In an interview with NBC's Today show on Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Carlos Gonzalez described Woods' condition and mental state in the immediate wake of the crash.

"I don't think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time," Gonzalez told Today's Craig Melvin. "It could be a mixture of adrenaline. It could have been shock. Again, it was very quick. The moment that I arrived, from the moment that he had rolled over, so I don't know if he had time to fully assess his injuries."

Even still, Gonzalez said that Woods seemed "calm" and did not look to be distressed. The officer added that he asked the golfer some routine questions to gauge his lucidity, including the day of the week and whether Woods was aware of where he was. Gonzalez also noted that there wasn't any evidence that Woods was intoxicated or impaired at the scene, but still clarified that toxicology is "beyond [his] purview."

“I don’t think he was aware of how gravely he was injured.”@Craigmelvin speaks with Deputy Carlos Gonzalez of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the first responder at the scene of Tiger Woods’ rollover crash. Gonzalez says “we didn’t see any evidence of impairment.” pic.twitter.com/No5C9uoamt

— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 24, 2021

Melvin also asked Gonzalez to expand upon comments he made on Tuesday, in which he said it was fortunate that Woods was able to "come out of this alive." Gonzalez explained that Woods likely survived the crash because he was wearing a seatbelt and the air bags in his vehicle worked properly.

"I've seen collisions that didn't look as serious, where the occupants were injured much more severely. I think that's just a testament to the fact that he was wearing a seat belt, the air bags worked as intended, and modern vehicles are much more safe than they ever used to be," Gonzalez said.

As previously reported, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva also credited the car's air bags with saving the legendary golfer's life.

Woods' charitable organization, the TGR Foundation, released a statement on Tuesday night via the athlete's Twitter account, saying that Woods was "awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room."


— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 24, 2021

The organization also thanked the staff at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, as well as the LA County Sheriff and Fire Department.

Professional golfers and athletes from other sports wished Woods well on social media after news of the crash came in, including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Baker Mayfield. Justin Thomas, a friend of Woods' and the 2017 PGA Champion, tweeted that he was "sick to [his] stomach" after hearing about the accident. He called Woods a "fighter" and said that he was praying for his fellow golfer.

Sick to my stomach right now. Praying for @TigerWoods and hoping for an amazing recovery. Thinking about his entire family and team, as all of us are sending our best wishes. We know TW is a fighter. Get well soon 🐅!!!

— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) February 23, 2021
Tiger Woods Car Crash
A sign for the Genesis Invitational golf tournament is seen on the door of the car that golf legend Tiger Woods was driving when seriously injured in a rollover accident on February 23, 2021 in Rolling Hills Estates, California. David McNew/Getty