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Els, Player wish Tiger well after crash

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South Africa’s Gary Player and Ernie Els have led the tributes for American Tiger Woods who was badly injured in a car accident on Tuesday.

FILE – International team captain Ernie Els, left, shakes hands with US team player and captain Tiger Woods after the US team won the President’s Cup golf tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in 2019. Picture: Andy Brownbill, AP Photo

Michael Sherman, in JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Gary Player has led the tributes for American Tiger Woods who was badly injured in a car accident on Tuesday.

Woods, the 45-year-old 15-time Major champion, was involved in a single-car crash and taken to hospital in Los Angeles. He underwent surgery on his lower right leg and ankle. He is said to be awake and recovering.

Player, 85, wrote on twitter: “I just heard the terrible news about Tiger Woods. I would like to let Tiger and his family know that we are pulling for him in surgery and wishing him a speedy recovery. Prayers that it is not too serious.”

One of Woods’ rivals during the peak of his career – Ernie Els, also paid tribute to the player widely considered the greatest of all time.

“Really troubling to see the accident this morning involving @TigerWoods” tweeted Els.

“We’ve been friends a very long time, obviously I’m concerned for his wellbeing. He’s always been a fighter and I hope he fully recovers very soon.”

South Africa’s Sunshine Tour also tweeted support for Woods: “ Wishing @TigerWoods a speedy recovery!

“Thinking about his entire family and team, as all of us are sending our best wishes from the @Sunshine_Tour !”

The career of Woods has been subject to epic highs and lows, after bursting onto the scene in 1997 when he won his first Major with his emphatic 12-shot victory at the Masters at Augusta.

By 2008, Woods had claimed his 14th Major at the age of 32 and was on track to pass the previous record for most Majors (18) won – held by American Jack Nicklaus. However, his victory at the 2008 US Open came at a cost – as he underwent knee surgery just a matter of days later.

Controversy followed as news of his marital infidelities followed at the end of 2009, with divorce following from his wife Elin Nordegren in 2010.

Though he returned to world number one in 2013, a number of back surgeries would mar his assault on the record of Nicklaus. His last Major came at the Masters in 2019, completing a spectacular comeback as his ability to win another Major had been in question for 11 years.

African News Agency (ANA)