A fan spectating at this week’s Web.com Tour event needed to be taken to hospital and given stitches after being struck by a golf club broken in a fit of pique by the golfer they were watching.
Playing in the WinCo Foods Portland Open, former Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Kevin Stadler slammed his 7-iron into the ground in frustration after a poor shot on the 15th hole during Friday’s second round.
The club broke near the bottom of the shaft, causing the clubhead to fly into the spectators where it struck a man on the head. According to a Web.com Tour official, who spoke with ESPN, the fan was treated on-site before being taken to a local hospital where he received six stitches before being released.
Orlando Pope, a rules official at the tournament, described what happened as a ‘very freakish incident’.
“Kevin is devastated,” Pope told ESPN. “He had trouble trying to finish the round. He was quite worried and felt so bad.”
Former US PGA champion Shaun Micheel was playing alongside Stadler when the incident took place. In a Facebook post, he said that ‘each of in the group learned something today’.
"One of my playing partners played a poor shot with a 7 iron on the par 3 fifteenth hole this morning,” wrote Micheel. “In a fit of anger he slammed his club against the ground and the side of his foot which caused the club to break about 6” from the bottom. I had my head down but the clubhead flew behind me and hit a spectator to my right. It’s been a while since I’ve seen so much blood.
“We stayed with him for about 15 minutes before the EMT’s arrived. The last I heard was that he had a possible skull fracture but that he was doing ok otherwise. [Stadler] was absolutely shattered and we did our best to keep his spirits up. This was not done on purpose and we were astounded at the way the club was directed but it shows you just how dangerous it is to throw or break clubs."