Every two years, the world’s top golfers are pitted against each other in an international showdown that draws the attention of fans from all over the world. The United States lost the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris, making it the sixth-straight win for Team Europe on their home soil and seven wins of the last 10 matches overall.
During the opening fourball match, American Brooks Koepka hooked a tee shot into the spectators’ area. Without warning, the ball struck a woman in the right eye who was taking in the action. That ball has caused the 49-year-old to lose vision in her eye after doctor’s confirmed her eyeball “exploded” upon impact, and she sought legal action afterward.
Woman’s Eye ‘Explodes’ From Errant Tee Shot
“It happened so fast, I didn’t feel any pain when I was hit,” Corine Remande told Agence France-Presse. “I didn’t feel like the ball had struck my eye and then I felt the blood start to pour. The scan on Friday confirmed a fracture of the right eye socket and an explosion of the eyeball.”
Visibly shaken, Koepka, who was the No. 3 ranked golfer in the world, waited near the scene while Remande received immediate on-course treatment. Koepka eventually gave the woman a signed glove for her trouble.
Still, Remande, who traveled from Egypt to watch the event, considered legal action against the event’s organizers for not properly warning her of the impending impact.
“Quite clearly, there is responsibility on the part of the organizers,” she said. “Officials did not shout any warning as the player’s ball went into the crowd. More than anything I want them to take care of all the medical bills to make sure there is no risk of infection.”
The European Tour released the following statement when reached for comment by Golf.com:
“Ball strikes are an occasional hazard for spectators but this kind of incident is extremely rare. We can confirm that ‘fore’ was shouted several times but also appreciate how hard it can be to know when and where every ball is struck if you are in the crowd. We are hugely sympathetic and will do everything we can to support the spectator, insofar as that is possible under very difficult circumstances.”
Koepka had one of the PGA Tour’s most impressive seasons in 2018, winning the U.S. Open for the second-consecutive season and the PGA Championship back in August.
In September, the West Palm Beach, Florida native was named the 2018 PGA Player of the Year. In May 2019, he won the PGA Championship to defend his title and claim the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Golf fans put themselves close to the action and in harms way standing just feet from the fairway, and in most cases, still in the field of play along the rough. Every golf shot is not controllable at 300-plus yards, and unfortunately, this type of thing can happen. A disclaimer printed on the back of tickets tells fans they assume all risk involved with the game of golf.
Hopefully, Remande has lived to cope with the loss of vision. This is a lesson in always paying attention when stray tee shots and golf balls can come screaming at you at high speeds.
This article was originally published on October 2, 2018, but this freak accident should always serve as a reminder to fans of what can happen at golf tournaments.