“I have stomach problems,” said a visibly annoyed Justin Thomas, who is 18 years younger than Woods but has developed a close personal relationship with him. “You know, it hurts to see one of my closest friends having an accident. Man I just hope he’s fine. Just worry about his kids, you know I am sure they will fight. “
Thomas was speaking at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship in Florida, which is where the tour arrived after a California swing that included last week’s Genesis Invitational. In a non-gambling capacity, Woods, recovering from back surgery he had undergone in January, served as the host of the Genesis. The event took place in Pacific Palisades, California, about 25 miles north of the crash site.
“It’s gross,” Adam Scott told the PGA Tour website in Bradenton, Florida for this week’s event. “He’s our hero out here. You think people like Tiger and Kobe Bryant are sacrosanct, but they are not. I just hope he’s fine. “
Scott was barely the only Tuesday mentioned Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar who was killed in a helicopter accident in the Los Angeles area nearly 13 months ago. One key difference is that Woods is expected to rebound, a fact not lost to his fellow PGA players.
“I have no doubt he will be back,” said Bryson DeChambeau of Woods. DeChambeau mentioned Ben Hogan, the legendary golfer who suffered a serious car accident in 1949 to win six of his nine major championships, and praised Woods as “an amazing person”.
“Heartbroken and shocked to hear of @Tiger Woods’ accident today,” DeChambeau tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers are with him for a full recovery.”
Describing the atmosphere in Bradenton as “very calm”, Xander Schauffele said on the tour’s website, “Everyone I spoke to was in a strange mood because of the news. I spoke to my caddy about the impact it had on the game of golf. It’s not good for us, not good for the game of golf. We can only hope that he is fine and that he will recover quickly. “
Woods “means a lot to the game of golf,” said Tony Finau, who finished second in a playoff at the Genesis Invitational, explaining that Woods’ breathtaking, runaway win at the 1997 Masters “changed my life.”
“When I saw the condition of his car, you just hope he’s fine,” Finau added.
Jon Rahm said he was playing a practice round with Finau when Finau saw the news on his cell phone. “I couldn’t believe it – as if his body couldn’t hold out enough,” said Rahm of Woods, whose career had been derailed for several years through back and knee operations.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support when he recovers,” said Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan in a statement. He added that his organization “was waiting for more information, though [Woods] comes from the operation. “
Many current and former PGA players have hit up on Twitter, including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and a couple of British stars, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.
Nicklaus said that he and his wife Barbara were “deeply concerned” about Wood’s condition and tweeted, “We would like to offer our heartfelt support and prayers to him during this difficult time.”
Nicklaus’ record of 18 big wins has long been followed by Woods, who won his 15th in the 2019 Masters, completing a return to form that delighted fans and colleagues alike. “Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful operation and all the best for a full recovery,” wrote Nicklaus.
Mickelson, a longtime competitor who has become friends with Woods, tweeted, “We’re all drawing for you, Tiger. We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this difficult time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery. “
“We know how tough you are,” tweeted Rose, “we’ve seen it a hundred times. I hope and pray that you are fine my friend. “
“Thoughts are with [Woods] and others involved, “Poulter wrote,” wish a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad. “
Another golf legend, Gary Player, shared a note in which he said, “I want to let Tiger and his family know that we are pulling in surgery for him and we wish him a speedy recovery. Prayers that it is not too serious. “
Former President Donald Trump can’t tweet from his own account, but of adviser Jason Miller he said, “Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion! “
Speaking on Tuesday night on Fox News, Trump said it was “tragic” that Woods, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump in 2019, suffered the misfortune while trying to recover from another reversal. “It’s pretty bad for your legs, I see, and he’ll find a way – but he’s a wonderful person.”
Former President Barack Obama, who played golf with Woods, said on Twitter, “I’m sending my prayers to [Woods] and his family tonight – here is a speedy recovery for the GOAT of Golf. If we have learned anything over the years, it is never to figure tigers. “
Other great athletes have added good wishes, including retired Lakers star Magic Johnson, who tweeted, “Everyone send their prayers to Tiger Woods! He’s just been in a serious car accident. Let us all pray for his speedy recovery. “
Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez said on Twitter: “I pray for my brother [Woods] as we are all eagerly awaiting further news. I think of him and all of his family. “
Olympic swimming master Michael Phelps offered prayers, and former Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn, whose romantic relationship with Woods ended about six years ago, tweeted, “Pray for TW now.”
Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade noted on TNT’s NBA pregame show Tuesday that he had only played golf the day before with Woods, whom he had credited with inspiring him and “many in the black community.” have to take up the sport.
“Just like everyone out there, my thoughts and prayers go to loved ones,” said Wade, “because we were all shaken by that moment and didn’t know what happened to Tiger.”
Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Tuesday that Woods was “lucky enough to get out of this situation alive.”
The fact that the golfer was wearing a seat belt helped, they said, as did the safety features of the SUV he was driving. The department also said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was driving during an impairment.