Tiger Woods' car accident cast a shadow over the World Golf Championships (WGC) event in Bradenton, Florida on Wednesday, as the players prepared for the tournament.

Fifteen-time major winner Woods was awake and responsive on Wednesday after a car crash the previous day in Los Angeles in which he suffered "multiple leg injuries," according to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to stabilize compound fractures of his tibia and fibula.

The horrific accident stunned the world of professional sport, with some commentators speculating as to whether it could end the career of the greatest golfer of his generation.

Prominent sporting figures — as well as former U.S. Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama — sent their well-wishes.

"It's a terrible situation, you never want anything bad to happen to people," said world number one Dustin Johnson, who found out about the accident while playing on the back nine of the Concession Golf Club. "Obviously (I) hope for a speedy recovery."

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said he was grateful that Woods' injuries were not life-threatening and praised the 82-time PGA Tour winner's mental fortitude, citing his remarkable comeback to win the 2019 Masters after undergoing numerous surgeries.

"It was really bad, he's very fortunate to be here," said McIlroy.

The 31-year-old from Northern Ireland, who will be grouped with 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and American Max Homa in Thursday's opening round, said the players would remain focused on the competition.

"Of course we're all going to play a golf tournament and seem no different," said McIlroy. "It's obviously going to take a bunch of attention away from this golf tournament, but that's nothing to do with us."