Tiger Woods, who is recovering from a devastating car accident that left him with a shattered leg, describes in an upcoming documentary how he has had to overcome his “inner demons to perform”.
The 11-time PGA Player of the Year recalls in GOATs: The Greatest of All Time how he became “the youngest ever to win” the Junior World Championships in the 10-and-under division at age eight, People reported.
It “showed me that I could play against the world’s best, even though I was only eight-years-old,” the golf legend says in the documentary, which airs in America this weekend.
“It got me started on the right path — I had the self-belief that I could do it. Coming back (after losing my first two years) to become the youngest ever to win the event, that meant a lot to me.”
People, which obtained a clip of the series, reported that Woods says that, for him, the sport is “also about competing within myself”.
“I have to overcome all my inner demons to perform, because no one’s gonna bail me out,” he explains. “It’s not like … (you can have) a bad game and just sit out.”
Compared to team sports where players can be swapped out, “we don’t have that”, Woods says.
“We’re stuck out there by ourselves. And you have to figure it out. And that’s the difficulty about our sport, is no one’s gonna bail us out.”
That mindset has taught him “how to hang in there, how to grind, how to fight, and (that) self-belief is earned”.
Woods appeared to not be paying attention in the moments before his devastating crash in Las Angeles — and may have fallen asleep at the wheel of the luxury SUV he was driving, according to a report citing forensic car accident experts.
He was driving a 2021 Genesis GV80 alone when he veered across the median strip on Hawthorne Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes, went off the road and struck a tree — causing the car to roll over.
Woods broke several bones in his lower right leg, which indicates he was applying the brake at the time of impact, experts told USA Today, adding that the evidence indicates he braked late into the collision sequence.
“To me, this is like a classic case of falling asleep behind the wheel, because the road curves and his vehicle goes straight,” Jonathan Cherney, a consultant who serves as an expert witness in court cases, told the news outlet.
The former police detective examined the crash site in person.
“It’s a drift off the road, almost like he was either unconscious, suffering from a medical episode or fell asleep and didn’t wake up until he was off the road and that’s where the brake application came in,” Cherney told USA Today.
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said there were no skid marks to indicate braking — but the vehicle had anti-lock brakes, so even if Woods slammed on the brakes, “you wouldn’t necessarily see tire marks”, Felix Lee, an accident reconstruction expert, told the outlet.
Lee said a key clue is how the SUV did not change direction entering the curve.
“My feeling is that speed wasn’t that much of an issue. It was just some kind of inattention that caused the kerb strike,” said Lee, who is part of the Expert Institute, a network that provides expert witnesses in court cases.
Cherney also said he didn’t see evidence of “any steering input” that would show the golfer tried to avoid the accident.
The sheriff has said investigators didn’t know the vehicle’s speed yet but said it could have been a factor, as well as inattentiveness.
“This stretch of road is challenging, and if you’re not paying attention, you can see what happens,” Villanueva said, adding that the crash was “purely an accident” in a preliminary assessment.
There was no evidence of impairment or medication involved, he added, and Woods will not face any criminal charges.
Earlier this week Woods thanked his colleagues for showing their support by donning red and black in honour of the golf legend.
In his first public comments since undergoing major surgery, the 45-year-old said it meant a lot to see such a touching tribute as he begins his long road to recovery.
“It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the tv and saw all the red shirts,” Woods tweeted. “To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.”
Throughout his career, Woods has famously worn a red shirt on the final day of a tournament. On Sunday (US time), pros including Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson were among those who kitted up in red and black for the final 18 holes at the Concession Club in Florida for the $13m Workday Championships.
Woods’ tweet came after his team announced a successful second round of surgery, as he was transferred from Harbor UCLA Medical Centre to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.