Friday 20 April 2018

Court battle over golf shot that took out player's eye

John-Paul Ford Rojas

A SCOTTISH golfers’s stray shot has landed him in a €870,000 court battle over the use of the traditional warning cry of "fore" after another player lost an eye.

Anthony Phee said he ducked and put a hand up when he heard the shout but was still struck by the ball hit by James Gordon and felt his eye “explode”.

Mr Phee, 44, is taking legal action against Mr Gordon and the Niddry Castle golf club in Winchburgh, West Lothian, Scotland.

His opponents claim that, rather than taking protective action, Mr Phee looked up in response to the warning.

Mr Phee, of Sale, Manchester, told Edinburgh’s Court of Session he had only played about four rounds of golf at the time of the incident in August 2007 but knew that if there was a shout of “fore” there was a stray ball. He was struck as he walked from the sixth hole to seventh tee.

“I heard a shout. The moment I heard the shout my hand went up. It was that instant, there was no delay,” he said.

“I did hear the fore and I did duck. I didn’t know where the fore was coming from. I didn’t know which direction anything was. I had no idea where the ball was coming from.”

His damaged eye had to be removed. Mr Phee said there were no signs asking those on the course to be aware of shots from the 18th tee or to wait while it was being played.

Mr Gordon, who had a handicap of 18 at the time, told the court that his shot swerved to the left and kept low. He said he was “very anxious” when the ball ended up going towards a group of four people. “I shouted fore at the top of my voice.”

Mr Gordon added: “On the shout of fore, three people went down.”

But he told the court that the fourth member of the group was “looking towards the sky”.

Mr Phee is suing Mr Gordon and the golf club for £750,000 damages.

In the action he alleges: “It is common knowledge among golfers that it is the responsibility of the striker of the ball to satisfy himself that his shot cannot harm anyone.”

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