LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was speeding when he crashed an SUV in Southern California less than two months ago, leaving the golf superstar seriously injured, authorities said Wednesday.
Woods 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. Sheriff's Capt. James Powers said there was no evidence that the golfer braked throughout the wreck and that it's believed Woods inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.
Detectives did not seek search warrants for the athlete's blood samples, which could have been screened for drugs or alcohol, or his cellphone. Sheriff's officials said there was no evidence of impairment or of distracted driving.
Investigators, however, did search the SUV's data recorder, known as a black box, in the days after the crash.
No traffic citations were issued. The sheriff said Woods gave permission for authorities to reveal details about the crash.
On Twitter, Woods thanked the people who called 911, as well as the first responders who pulled him out of the wreck and transported him to the hospital.
“I will continue to focus on my recovery and family, and thank everyone for the overwhelming support and encouragement I’ve received throughout this very difficult time,” Woods wrote in a statement posted after the news conference.
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.
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.
The athlete is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries, including a lengthy procedure for shattered tibia and fibula bones in his lower right leg in multiple locations. Those were stabilized with a rod in his tibia. Additional injuries to the bones in his foot and ankle required screws and pins.
Woods, 45, has never gone an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in high school. He had hoped to play this year in the Masters tournament, which begins Thursday.