GOLFER LOSES EYE AND WINS £400,000 IN DAMAGES
A Manchester golfer who lost an eye during a round of golf has been awarded nearly £400,000 in damages.
Anthony Phee who was a visiting golfer playing Niddry Castle Golf Club, Winchburgh, West Lothian said that he had ducked and put his hand up when he heard the cry of “Fore”. Unfortunately this defensive action did not stop the ball striking him in the eye which “exploded” on impact. Mr Phee sued both the player who struck the shot, Mr Gordon, and also the golf club.
Mr Phee commented “I’m delighted at the judgement and relieved that the court case is over”.
“No-one expects to lose an eye when they go to play golf and adjusting to partially losing my sight has been a harrowing experience. I now just want to move on with my life”.
Mr Phee was walking between holes with his golfing companions when he was struck in the eye by a tee shot from Mr James Gordon.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh awarded damages of £397,000 with Lord Brailsford deciding that Mr Gordon from Livingston was 70% liable and Niddry Castle Golf Club, 30% liable.
John Woosey, Managing Director of Golf Care, the UK’s largest golf insurer commented “We live in an increasingly litigious society and claims like this are becoming far more frequent. Here at Golf Care we’ve been shouting about the dangers and implications of mishit shots for quite some time and the importance of being properly insured against a disaster such as this. Whether you’re a single figure handicapper or a golfing novice, we all hit poor shots."
"I’m sorry but why take the risk when for less than £30 per year you can be covered. It simply doesn’t make sense to take to the course without the protection of a specialist golf insurance policy.”
GOLFERS WARNED SHOUTING ‘FORE!’ IS NOT FAIR PLAY
Until now the cry of "Fore!" followed by a sheepish wave to a distant fairway has always been thought sufficient to warn other golfers of an approaching slice or hook.
But yesterday three High Court Judges ruled that the warning, used for more than 100 years, may not be enough to absolve players of their liabilities. Anthony Lightening, a left-hander with a slice, was ordered to pay compensation to another player, John Pearson, after hitting him in the eye.
Mr Lightning, 45, of Mopley, Southampton, argued at the Court of Appeal that he was not liable because he had shouted "Fore". But the judges disagreed after hearing how Mr Pearson, 46, had suffered permanent damage to his retina.
Yesterday Lord Justice Simon Brown, sitting with Lord Justice Otton and Sir Christopher Slade, ordered the case back to Southampton County Court for damages to be assessed. Afterwards Mr Pearson of Lordshill, Southampton, said he was "very pleased" with the result.
Mr Lightening was playing in the rough at the tenth hole of Dunwood Manor Golf Club in Romsey, Hampshire, in October 1992. His shot deflected off a tree and hit Mr Pearson, 80 yards away on the fairway.
Mr Lightnings counsel, Jonathan Howard, told the court that his client knew Mr Pearson was on the ninth fairway but did not believe he was in danger. However Mr Pearson did not hear the warning and was "poleaxed" when the ball hit him in the eye. There were "hundreds of thousands" of similar situations on golf courses every day, he claimed.
"The danger of an errant ball causing an accident is always present", he added. "Everyone who plays on a golf course takes a risk because of the number of people who play and the proximity of the holes". Golfs governing body, the Royal and Ancient, last night said it did not expect a rash of law suits.
David Rickman, its rules secretary, said: "Our understanding is that each case is going to be dealt with on its own merits".
He added that basic safety measures almost always worked, even though golf courses are places where youve got golf balls whizzing around, not always in the direction the person who hit the ball intended".