Golf is a dangerous sport; just ask Dr. Anand in New York
Did you hear the one about two doctors playing golf in Dix Hills, N.Y? Well, one of the doctors was in the wrong place at the wrong time, took one in the head and is suing the other doctor.
It would be funny, except the victim is blind in one eye, and these two former friends will probably never tee it up together again.
Now this case is going to the New York Supreme Court after a lower court dismissed the lawsuit. Apparently, the original claim is that Dr. Anoop Kapoor was negligent and should have yelled “fore” as a warning before he hit his shot as he and plaintiff Dr. Azad Anand were playing golf in 2002 at the Dix Hills Park Golf Course.
The lower court, divided 3-1, concluded that Anand was “not in the foreseeable danger zone,” and Kapoor had no obligation to yell the customary warning.
According to testimony, Anand was between 15 and 20 feet away and slightly ahead of Kapoor, but pretty much to the side. Anand had been looking for his ball, and when he found it, he turned back and was struck in the head by Kapoor’s poor shot (Sounds pretty much like the ol’ hosel rocket, doesn’t it?).
Kapoor claims he yelled, but it doesn’t sound like it would have mattered anyway. From that distance, it’s pretty much impossible to react in time, with a ball more resembling a bullet than a golf shot.
I know this from experience, because I almost clanked one of my playing partners a few weeks ago on the second hole at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
I didn’t have time to yell “fore,” but as it was unfolding, I did yell something else that I can’t repeat. My playing partner managed to get out of the way with an incredible athletic move resembling a scene from “The Matrix.”
He actually apologized to me for being in the wrong position. All I could think was, “Damn, I almost killed somebody!”
So who was at fault at Harbour Town? From my point of view, I was since I hit the shot, and maybe I should have made sure nobody was in front of me. Although you can never really anticipate the dreaded “S” shot (in golf we treat the shank like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter – you dare not speak its name), it could happen at any time.
By the same token, I have learned not to put myself in the short-right position of any right-handed golfer, having seen this scene play out on multiple occasions. By the way, I actually went on to have a pretty decent round after that – miraculous, to say the least.
The bigger issue is general liability on the golf course, whether you’re hitting another player or somebody’s property. There’s nothing like seeing a sign on a hole reminding you that you are responsible for damage that occurs to private property. I mean, it’s not like you’re tying to hit the ball OB. Talk about an incentive to steer the ball – and isn’t that when you get into trouble?
It’s amazing that people aren’t injured by golf balls more often – at every level. I’m shocked people aren’t killed in pro-ams. The combo of nervous high-handicappers playing in front of a large gallery seems like a recipe for one of those fatal temple shots.
Even the former best player in the world has a knack for beaning spectators, but at least most of those were as the ball was on its way down.
I even had a guy hit a ball into my pocket once (you can read about it here), and I remember being miffed that he didn’t wait for my group to clear the green before he struck his shot.
The bottom line is golf can be hazardous to your health. And if you want to stay upright, be careful where you stand – and keep your head down.
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