I have never understood the appeal of golf as a spectator sport. It seems to take forever for the players to hit the ball, and even then you can’t even see the ball’s trajectory or where it lands. But the big tournaments draw big crowds, even though you can see only a tiny bit of what is going on. At least with other slow games like cricket and baseball, you can see the entire action. I also find it hilarious that there has to be pin drop silence when a golfer is about to hit a stationary ball, when in tennis or baseball the players have to hit a ball traveling at around 100 mph with crowds screaming in their ears.
Some time ago I was visiting the home of a friend who, along with some of the other guests present, plays golf and the TV was on because they were showing a major championship tournament and so I watched a bit of the game. I noticed that when the players hit from the tee, the spectators lined up forming two thick lines that defined a narrow alley. The players would whack the ball hard to travel straight down that alley on its way to the green.
I mentioned at that time that this seemed awfully dangerous. What if a player mishit the ball slightly to the right or left and it hit a bystander standing so close? It could easily prove fatal. My friends laughed it off and said that these were professional players who do not do such things. I was not convinced. Even the greatest players in any sport can mess up for all manner of reasons, such as an insect going into their eye, an involuntary twitch, or because they are distracted by an unexpected noise. (At one time, there was a mysterious person who would loudly shout “You da m-a-a-a-n!” at major golf tournaments just at the moment when a player was about to hit the ball. He was never caught as I recall.)
So it did not surprise me in the least when I read that former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had injured a spectator by doing just what I feared might happen. Of course, Rice is not a top-ranked professional golfer but from what I understand she is a fairly decent amateur player. While pros might be less likely to mishit, they hit much harder and such an error by one of them off the tee could prove fatal. And according to the same article, it is not uncommon for even experts like Tiger Woods to hit players, though it did not say if it was off the tee.
Golf may be the one sport where it is more dangerous for spectators than for players.