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DEREK LAWRENSON: One year after Tiger Woods’ car crash, will it cost him his career?


A year after the horrific car crash that brought the world’s attention to their genteel Los Angeles suburb, all is quiet again along Hawthorne Boulevard in Rolling Springs.

The welcome sign so incongruously uprooted when Tiger Woods’ SUV crossed the central reserve and rolled down an embankment has been replaced. A notice stapled to a tree advertises an upcoming celebrity sports memorabilia auction, a wry birthday postscript to the celebrity sports debris strewn across this pristine neighborhood on that fateful day in February.

On a Hollywood postcard-worthy Saturday afternoon, a resident or two were walking their dogs and another or two tending to their gardens. “You will easily be able to see where it went,” said one.

A year after his car accident, Tiger Woods will be back in Los Angeles at the Genesis Invitational

“When you’ve passed the ravine, just look for the poor cactus.” Hit head-on by Tiger’s runaway car, he is indeed in a sorry state, his limbs in pain like those of the man who had to be extracted from the wreckage of his high-end luxury vehicle.

Now, Tiger is back in the City of Angels this week, as host of the Genesis Invitational. It was the legendary event where he made his PGA Tour debut 30 years ago at the age of 16 and will now always be inextricably linked to what happened the morning after Max Homa made the winning putt in 2021.

Woods didn’t play at Riviera last year as he was looking to overcome even more back issues. On Monday, he left early to complete a sponsorship day at another Los Angeles golf club.

He was late when he entered Hawthorne Boulevard and, according to the later police report, he was driving too fast. A local sheriff said he was possibly driving at 87 mph, more than double the legal limit. At this speed, he certainly wouldn’t have had time to register the yellow warning signs scattered all along the road, which descended steeply.

DEREK LAWRENSON: One year after Tiger Woods’ car crash, will it cost him his career?

The 46-year-old had to be pulled from the wreckage after his getaway SUV hit a tree

Walk down it, as it meanders, connecting well-heeled locals to the central arteries of city life, and you can visualize how it all might unfold. Admittedly, it would only take a momentary lack of concentration if you accelerated recklessly.

As Woods admitted months later, he was very lucky that the terrible sequence of events didn’t cost him his life. We still don’t know if it will cost him what remains of his career, a question that has always appeared secondary for much of the last 12 months when faced with more primary considerations such as whether he would be able to walk. again.

He spoke in public for the first time in December, at an end-of-year event he organized in the Bahamas, where he detailed in graphic terms the months when he had no couldn’t move from his room, then the painful rehabs.

He admitted he wasn’t sure he wanted to go through what it would take to get his game back to elite level, even though he was given the medical all-clear that his affected right leg was up to the task. .

DEREK LAWRENSON: One year after Tiger Woods’ car crash, will it cost him his career?

The 15-time major champion is expected to give an update on his future plans

Two weeks later, there were more encouraging signs, as he participated alongside his son Charlie in a fun parent-child expo in Florida. There was enough evidence that his good shots were still on the money, but plenty of other signs of the hard road still lay ahead of him. He couldn’t walk more than one hole without experiencing considerable pain, let alone 72 holes in four days, and Tiger made it clear that there were no circumstances under which he would consider playing in a major event or PGA Tour while riding in a cart, even with waivers. “It’s not who I am,” he said.

Nine weeks later, at Riviera over the next few days, we should get an update and a firm indication as to whether his clear wish to play in the 150th Open at St Andrews in July is a possibility.

It’s a clear sign of the respect in which the five-time major champion is held by this generation that every member of the world’s top 10 has gathered this week. You probably have to go back to the golden days of this event in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was known as the Los Angeles Open and was practically owned by Ben Hogan, who also nearly lost his life in a car accident, to find the last time that happened.

A few of his friends, like Justin Thomas, will know what’s going on with Tiger. But, a year after the car crash that sent shockwaves around the world, the majority will feel the same mix of anticipation and anxiety as the rest of us as we await a report from stage.

It’s a wild Ryder in Texas

No golf event has suffered like the WM Phoenix Open from the absence of fans. Last week they were back, all 800,000, to deliver their usual exotic kaleidoscope of color and excitement that makes this a tournament like no other.

If you haven’t seen the video on social media of what happened after the wonderfully named Sam Ryder had a hole-in-one at the 16th par three where over 100,000 fans went crazy in the stadium backdrop, throwing their beer cans onto the green, be sure to.

It’s not golf as another Samuel Ryder knew it, but no worse for it.

DEREK LAWRENSON: One year after Tiger Woods’ car crash, will it cost him his career?

Thousands of fans threw their drinks in the air after Ryder scored the hole-in-one, leading one reporter to joke about a rain delay

The tournament, won by Ryder Cup star Scottie Scheffler, was also the exit party for exciting 24-year-old Californian Sahith Theegala.

Playing on a sponsor’s exemption, he led for three days before settling for a third-place tie with Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele and defending champion Brooks Koepka.

While all of those players boarded private jets for Los Angeles this week, Theegala, who still lives with his parents, drove for six hours in his Volkswagen Passat. No doubt the riches heading his way will spoil him eventually, but he’s a refreshing burst of normalcy in the meantime.

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