Tiger Woods' Friend Darius Rucker Shares Whether He Thinks He'll Play Golf Again Following Accident
By Paige Gawley
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Darius Rucker is sending good thoughts to friend Tiger Woods. While promoting his new song, "Beers and Sunshine," on Friday's episode of the Todayshow, the 54-year-old country singer addressed Woods' car accident in California, after which he was hospitalized and underwent surgery on his leg.
"When it first happened, you're all worried about his health, but now that you know what's going on, I think Tiger's such a strong guy," Rucker said of the legendary golf pro.
As for whether he thinks Woods will ever return to the green, Rucker seemed optimistic. "The question of if he's going to play again, I say if Tiger wants to play again, he'll play again," he said of his longtime pal.
"I just want him to get better, get healthy," Rucker added of the 45-year-old athlete, who's previously undergone five back surgeries.
Dr. Neil Ghodadra, who has an orthopedic practice in California, recently told ET that Woods' potential return to golf is "all about the rehab," and noted that he does "fully expect him to recover and come back and play."
The country singer and pro golfer met in the '90s at a Michigan bar. At the time, Rucker's band, Hootie and the Blowfish, was gaining traction, and a then-18-year-old Woods was the rising star of the golf world.
"We were sitting at the bar and I look over the bar and I'm like, 'Isn't that that Tiger Woods kid that everybody's talking about?' He's 18," Rucker told PGATour.com in 2019. "... So I went over and I said, 'Are you Tiger Woods?' and he says, 'Are you the guy from Hootie and the Blowfish?' and I sat down and we just hung out all night."
In the same interview, Rucker said, "Tiger's my favorite player. He's probably my best friend out there and he's also, my favorite player. There's not a lot of things in sports that gives me more joy than watching Tiger Woods play."
Woods was involved in a single-vehicle crash on Tuesday on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in California, and had to be pulled from his vehicle by firefighters and paramedics and was transported by ambulance to the hospital for his injuries.
Following the accident, the golfer underwent surgery on his leg for "significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity," Dr. Anish Mahajan of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Wednesday that the incident was "purely an accident," and that they "do not contemplate any charges whatsoever" in regards to the crash.
On Thursday, Dr. Mahajan said that Woods was transferred from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for "continuing orthopedic care and recovery."