The appeal of golf eludes me, though it attracts fanatically faithful players and followers. Its appeal as a spectator sport is particularly baffling since it has all the speed of a chess game. And I say that as a fan of cricket, considered by many to be one of the slowest games on the planet. At least on TV, you get to see various players on different holes. If you are actually on the course, you get to see just a tiny portion of the game. And yet tournaments attract a huge number of spectators to the courses.
Golf is that rare sport where it is more dangerous for the spectators than it is for the players. Since apparently much business is conducted on golf courses, the biggest danger for players is if a fellow player attacks them in the case of a business deal gone wrong. On the few occasions that I have seen a bit of golf on TV, I was amazed that spectators would line up on both sides of a fairly narrow path down which players would drive off the tee. It seemed to me that an errant shot that veered to the left or right would plough right into the crowd and cause serious injury. I myself would not go anywhere near the possible path of a golf ball. The golf ball is so small and hard and traveling at such high speeds, that it would be like standing close to the path of a bullet.
I asked some friends who play golf why this was allowed and they assured me that at the professional level that attracts so many spectators who crowd the tee areas, the players were unlikely to make such a poor shot. Well, it happened. A woman was hit in the eye by a tee shot at the high profile Ryder Cup match in Paris. She has been blinded in the eye and says that she could easily have been killed if the ball’s path had been ever so slightly different.
She is suing, saying that not enough precautions were taken or warnings given to protect spectators.