Striking a blow for common sense, New York’s top court has dismissed a lawsuit by a golfer injured by a wayward ball. From ESPN:
Slices, hooks and other errant shots are a common hazard on the links and a golfer can’t expect to get a warning shout of “Fore!” every time a ball comes his way, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday in dismissing a personal injury lawsuit.
Dr. Anoop Kapoor and Dr. Azad Anand were playing on a nine-hole Long Island course in October 2002 when Anand was hit in the head while looking for his ball on a fairway, blinding him in one eye. The seven judges on the state Court of Appeals, siding with lower courts, said Kapoor’s failure to yell in advance of his errant shot from the rough did not amount to intentional or reckless conduct.
The court cited a judge’s finding that Anand was not in the foreseeable zone of danger and, as a golfer, consented to the inherent risks of the sport.
“The manner in which Anand was injured—being hit without warning by a ‘shanked’ shot while one searches for one’s own ball—reflects a commonly appreciated risk of golf,” the judges wrote.
There have been a number of these sort of cases in recent years, and as far as I can remember, judges and juries have consistently stated that being hit is part of the game. If you’re interested reading more about the legal side of golf, try The Little Green Book of Golf Law. It covers a “wide array of legal issues, including Tiger Woods’ right of publicity, personal injury and product liability cases, contract disputes involving hole-in-one contests, IRS litigation over tax deductions for golf expenses, equipment patent disputes, and much more.”