Saturday 21 September 2019

'He's bruised and shaken' - Father of Irishman hospitalised following lightning strike at US golf tournament

Lightning strikes East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Photo: Reuters
Lightning strikes East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Photo: Reuters
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club.Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Fans are assisted by medical personnel after a lightning strike during the third round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Robin Schiller and Amy Molloy

An Irishman from Co Tyrone has been hospitalised following a lightning strike at a golf tournament in the US.

The man was among six people injured after lightning struck a tree at the PGA Tour event in Atlanta yesterday.

Five people were hospitalised and another person treated at the scene after being injured by debris at East Lake Golf Club.

Speaking to the BBC, Terry Murphy from Cookstown, father of Ryan Murphy, said his son had been "knocked out cold" following the "freak" incident.

"He's bruised and shaken," he said. "And he wants to come home."

Ryan had gone to Georgia to follow Rory McIlroy on his own after spending a summer working in the US.

"I was asking what he was wearing to see if I could see him on the TV," he said.

Mr Murphy's son then text to say play had been suspended due to storms in the area.

"I just felt it in my gut so I tried to call him," he said.

He received no response and started calling local hospitals in the area.

His son later picked up the phone.

"I heard the beeping of machines and I knew it was medical," he said.

"He's had scans just to make sure there is no internal damage."

"The first thing he said to me was 'Don't say anything to mummy'."

The lightning strike happened during the third round of the tour championship.

A statement from the PGA Tour said that the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Play was suspended yesterday but is expected to resume this morning.

"There were six fans injured on site during a lightning strike. Our latest report is that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening. Play is suspended for the day, and will resume Sunday at 8 am (Eastern Time)," the PGA Tour said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that it is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance.

The incident happened shortly before 5pm local time near the 16th tee box.

Play had been suspended at 4.17pm, and there were two lightning strikes 28 minutes later.

"One strike occurred near the maintenance area, while another struck a tree near the 16th tee. Debris from that strike injured six people," the PGA Tour confirmed.

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