Fore II

In our continuing effort to keep you abreast of the latest news in golf liability (OK, it’s December – maybe we can’t play golf but we can write about it!) we bring you a recent case from New Jersey:

A golfer playing a ball on an adjacent parallel fairway waited for a threesome on the tee to hit their tee shots before hitting his shot – since their tee shots might land close to him.  After the third player on the tee had hit, the player in the fairway turned to play his shot and was struck in the face by a fourth tee shot from the threesome.  It seems one of the three players hit a “mulligan” (a “do-over”); none of the golfers in the threesome shouted “fore” and all three members of the threesome were later sued for the serious injuries sustained by the player in the fairway. 

The suit charged that all three members of the threesome (the golfer who struck the mulligan and the other two players) acted recklessly by allowing the mulligan to be hit and for failing to warn others in the line of fire.  The Court disagreed, finding that only the golfer who struck the mulligan could be found to be reckless; the other two playing companions could not have had the requisite state of mind to be guilty of reckless conduct; indeed, they may not have even known that their companion was about to hit a mulligan.  Stated differently, one can only be held responsible for one’s own idiocy.

As an aside, it is worth noting that had the errant golfer followed the Rules of Golf strictly, he would not have hit a mulligan and would have played his original tee shot where it landed.  (His score might have been higher but his bank account would not have suffered!)

— Kevin Palmer


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