Excessive speed caused Tiger Woods’ SUV crash, sheriff says

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Tiger Woods‘ February accident was caused by excessive speed, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Woods’ SUV was traveling from 84 to 87 mph on a downhill stretch of road outside Los Angeles that had a speed limit of 45 mph and was going 75 mph when his car hit a tree, Sherriff Alex Villanueva said.

No traffic citations were issued and there were no signs of impairment or distracted driving.

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

Villanueva said Woods and his representatives have been cooperative during the investigation and gave permission to share the findings.

Woods, who is 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.

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.

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 is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries stemming from serious leg injuries he suffered in the accident. 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.

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“Spent a couple hours with him, which was nice. It was good to see him,” McIlroy said from the Masters on Tuesday. “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.”

Villanueva had 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.

Villanueva faced criticism for weeks for his comments about the crash, including calling it “purely an accident” and saying there was no evidence of impairment. Documents show that Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving.

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.

This is the third time Woods has been involved in a vehicle investigation.

The most notorious example was when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree early on the morning after Thanksgiving in 2009. That crash was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months.

In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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