Six golf fans injured after lightning strikes

ATLANTA (Georgia) • Six spectators were injured on Saturday, when lightning struck twice at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta where the season-ending Tour Championship was being played.

Third-round play was halted around 4pm because of inclement weather, and with the tournament delayed, players were cleared from the course. Fans were also told to find shelter.

One of those hit was Billy Kramer, owner of NFA Burger, one of the tournament's food vendors. He was in a cart, on his way to collect more supplies for his stand off the eighth fairway, when a lightning bolt struck a pine tree just off his path.

"It was like a sonic boom," said Kramer, who was seated on the grass being treated by medical personnel as he waited to be loaded into an ambulance.

Another man lay supine on the golf path, which was littered with loose acorns and bark. He was secured to a stretcher and was the second person to be put into an ambulance and taken away. Kramer was the third.

In a statement, the PGA Tour said six people were hurt by debris from the tree that was struck, though none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

The final pairing in the 30-man field had teed off at 3.20pm and was through five holes.

American golfer Matt Kuchar was on the eighth hole when play was suspended.

He had retreated to the players' grill inside the clubhouse when the two lightning strikes hit. "It shook the clubhouse," he said. "Powerful, powerful stuff. Scary stuff."

This is not the first time golf spectators have been injured by severe August weather.

In 1991, a fan was killed in a lightning strike at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana while watching the 73rd edition of the PGA Championship.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2019, with the headline 'Six golf fans injured after lightning strikes'. Print Edition | Subscribe