Golf injury opens legal can of worms

A spectator blinded in one eye at the Ryder Cup golf tournament in France says she could have died after being hit by a wayward golf ball.

Corine Remande, 49, was injured when American Brooks Koepka’s drive on the par-four sixth hole veered off course at Le Golf National and struck her.

She is planning legal action against the organisers after being hit by the stray ball on Friday, saying course officials did not give adequate warnings.

The shocking injury to the French woman has opened a legal can of worms for organisers of golf tournaments all around the world.

Corine Remande hit by wayward ball at the Ryder Cup golf tournament

By a strange quirk of fate we have all seen wayward balls fly into the crowd, but up until now it has only been a bump on the knee or on the noggin – this time it is a serious injury and no doubt golf officials are scratching their heads for a solution going forward.

How an injury akin to the Ryder Cup incident has not happened before is a minor miracle…and now organisers of all tournaments will be taking stock of their legal obligations.

The Frenchwoman has told BBC Sport she would have been even more seriously injured if the ball had missed her right eye and hit the side of her head.

Mrs Remande said she was “very angry” about a number of issues:

  • She believes the marshals should have warned that a ball was coming as spectators would not have heard shouts of ‘fore’ from the tee.
  • She says the marshals did not communicate that players were attempting to drive for the green instead of laying up on the fairway.
  • She claims officials did not check on her or visit her after she was taken to hospital.
  • She alleges there was a lack of safety warnings on the ticket and signage around the venue.

What did Tour officials say

The European Tour says ‘fore’ was shouted several times, and that marshals are not aware of a player’s strategy in advance of any shot, especially in matchplay like the Ryder Cup.

It says there was contact with the family from the moment the incident happened – initially on site, then through the French Golf Federation, and subsequently by Ryder Cup Europe.

The organisation said Ryder Cup tickets contained ground regulations which clearly stated that spectators acknowledge the general risks associated with golf, including risks with errant shots.

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “Our deepest sympathies continue to be with Mrs Remande and her family. Brooks Koepka, who has said he is heartbroken by the incident, has also contacted the family.

“Millions of spectators attend and enjoy golf events each year. Incidents of this severity are extremely rare. The safety of our spectators is our paramount concern, and this will continue to be the case.”

What did golfer Koepka say?

The man who hit the drive, Brooks Koepka said his “stomach sank” when he heard the spectator had lost the sight in her right eye.

At a news conference before the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, the world number three said he heard the news about Mrs Remande after arriving at the course on Tuesday.

“Yesterday was probably one of the worst days of my life,” said the 28-year-old.

“I haven’t had too many tragedies in my personal family where there’s been a loss or any kind of tragic accident, so I’ve been lucky in that sense.”