WATCH: Jack Nicklaus 'concerned,' Bryson DeChambeau 'heartbroken' over Tiger Woods crash
by Jim Slater
WASHINGTON - Golf legend Jack Nicklaus and US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau were among shocked supporters praying for Tiger Woods on Tuesday as the 15-time major champion was undergoing surgery for multiple leg injuries following a solo car crash near Los Angeles.
"Barbara and I just heard about Tiger's accident, and like everyone else, we are deeply concerned," tweeted Nicklaus, who won a record 18 major titles.
"We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time. Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery."
Barbara and I just heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everyone else, we are deeply concerned. We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time. Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery.— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) February 23, 2021
DeChambeau was among players at a World Golf Championships event in Florida who were stunned, tweeting he was "heartbroken" and saying later he was confident Woods would return.
"He's one of the most impressive human beings I've ever met and I think he'll come back just fine," DeChambeau said. "He'll do everything in his power to come back."
DeChambeau noted the fabled comeback of Ben Hogan, who was involved in a 1949 car crash but won six of his nine major titles after the injuries, and Woods's resiliency from past back and knee injuries.
"Whatever has happened, he has always come back from it in a pretty amazing way," DeChambeau said of Woods. "He's an amazing human being that has done incredible things. I have no doubt in my mind he'll be back."
The crash revived memories of NBA star Kobe Bryant being killed last year in a helicopter crash in the hills near Calabasas east of Los Angeles.
Bryson DeChambeau is optimistic about the recovery of Tiger Woods, one of the most impressive human beings he's ever met. pic.twitter.com/6WmIxiyYgV— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 24, 2021
"It's sickening," said 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott of Australia. "He's our hero out here. You think guys like Tiger and Kobe Bryant are untouchable, but they're not. I just hope he’s all right."
"Something crazy happened to our sports world last year with Kobe, so I wouldn't say that dramatic of feelings, but man, you just hope Tiger's all right," said PGA standout Tony Finau said. "He's a strong cookie physically, mentally, so if someone's going to get through this, he will."
Finau, the PGA's first player of Samoan and Tongan ancestry, was among many inspired by Woods since his first major win at the 1997 Masters.
"He means a lot to the game," Finau said. "He means a lot to my career. The '97 Masters changed the course of my life. Without that event I probably wouldn't be playing golf... I'm one of hundreds of guys out here probably that would say the same thing."
Tony Finau speaks to the significant impact Tiger Woods has on his career. pic.twitter.com/lE1ihpf8Qt— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 23, 2021
Second-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm hopes Woods and his son Charlie have more events together like they played in December just before Woods underwent a fifth career back surgery.
"I just hope he can get out of the hospital after recovery and he can still play with his kids and have a normal life," Rahm said. "And I hope we can see him on the golf course as early as possible."
Woods, 45, has won 82 US PGA titles, level with Sam Snead for the all-time record.
- Players in quiet mood -
"I hope Tiger is all right," third-ranked Justin Thomas said. "I'm sick to my stomach. It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident."
"The mood has been very quiet," said fourth-ranked Xander Schauffele. "It's not good for the game of golf. All we can do is hope that he's fine and has a speedy recovery."
Woods won his most recent title at the 2019 Zozo Championship in Japan and his most recent major at the 2019 Masters, snapping an 11-year major win drought and completing an epic return from back surgery.
"We are all pulling for you, Tiger," tweeted five-time major winner Phil Mickelson. "We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery."
He'll have the backing of the US PGA Tour as well, commissioner Jay Monahan saying, "Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers."
Two English stars tweeted their support, Justin Rose writing: "We know how tough you are, we've seen it a hundred times. Hoping and praying you're ok my friend" while Ian Poulter said, "wishing a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad."
It wasn't only the golf world wishing the best for Woods.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who was at a Monday golf event with Woods, tweeted: "Prayers up for the GOAT @TigerWoods... Don't take not even a MOMENT for granted! I know you're good because your Tiger within is a beast!!!"
NBA legend Magic Johnson tweeted: "Everyone send your prayers out to Tiger Woods! He was just in a bad car accident. Let us all pray for his speedy recovery."