PGA Tour officials have been slammed over their decision to interview American golfer Justin Thomas, shortly after the crash involving his good friend, Tiger Woods.
A clearly distraught Thomas fought back tears after the discussing the accident that saw Woods rushed to hospital to undergo surgery on Tuesday in the United States.
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Woods' car crashed and rolled over in Los Angeles, with fire crews needing to use the 'jaws of life' to get the golfing star from the badly damaged vehicle.
The 45-year-old was rushed to a local hospital by ambulance where he is undergoing surgery.
No other cars were involved in the wreck that injured the golfer.
The full extent of the 15-time major winner's injuries have not been disclosed, however, his agent said he suffered "multiple leg injuries".
Thomas was asked about the accident during a scheduled virtual press conference, where he choked back tears discussing the accident and the impact it must be having on Woods' family.
The World No.3 said he only found out about the car crash about 15 minutes before conducting the interview.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” an emotional Thomas said.
“It hurts to see one of your closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right. I just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”
Many golfing fans slammed the PGA Tour's decision to go ahead with the interview so shortly after the accident.
Justin Thomas got emotional while reacting to the news of Tiger Woods’ accident. pic.twitter.com/7YC3TNzM0f
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 23, 2021
WHY keep the interview going when hearing the news of Tiger’s accident. Especially with Justin Thomas, one of Tiger’s good friends on tour. Poor from the Tour, the media and anyone involved. https://t.co/9szzZq2QQe
— Ash Wednesday Imposter (@Kane44Campbell) February 23, 2021
They shouldn’t be doing any of the interviews. All the golfers there play the game because of tiger. They need to respect Tiger and the other’s privacy
— Brian Cox (@briancox1989) February 23, 2021
Dang @PGATOUR , just call of pressers today for these guys. We don’t need to see Justin Thomas cracking up there talking about tigers kids. Settle down and let some things clear up. Interviews can happen later.
— 3 putt king (@kingofthe3putt) February 23, 2021
Feels like it's very much time to put a hold on the press conferences
— Garrett Morrison (@gfordgolf) February 23, 2021
hoping this is the last of the day
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) February 23, 2021
— Ting (@Tingaling4life) February 23, 2021
The PGA Tour later postponed a scheduled interview it had with Xander Schauffele for the following day.
Woods was removed via the windshield and taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Tiger crashed on notorious stretch of road
The crash occurred near the hilly Palos Verdes peninsula, at the bottom of a steep stretch of road which has runaway truck ramps for vehicles that lose control going downhill, and which is notorious for numerous fatal accidents over the years.
The car could be seen lying on its side on a patch of grass some distance off the road, with its hood badly damaged, having apparently flipped over several times.
Woods, one of the most successful golfers of all time, has won 15 major golf championships.
He recently underwent his fifth back surgery, and said he was uncertain if he will be able to play at the upcoming Masters, which he last won in 2019.
Woods, 45, was in the area for his annual Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club.
He made an astonishing comeback from a series of career-threatening injuries and personal problems to sensationally win the Masters in 2019, his first major title since the 2008 US Open.
In May 2017, Woods was arrested near his Jupiter Island home in Florida for being asleep at the wheel of his car in a traffic lane.
He said he had taken a mixture of prescription drugs and did not realise they would cause him to fall asleep.
Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was hit with a fine and community service.
He is the winner of 82 US PGA titles, level with Sam Snead for the all-time record.
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