Keeping your eye on your putts can be dangerous

By The West Virginia Record | Aug 28, 2014

If your bowling buddy dropped his ball on your foot, you wouldn't blame the alley.

If the batter up before you tossed his bat into your shin as he ran to first base, you wouldn't hold the ballpark responsible.

If a member of your golf foursome lagged behind and failed to call out “Fore!” as he smacked one right at you, you wouldn't sue the golf course.

Or would you?

Cabell County plaintiffs attorney Victor Navy did.

Navy was playing in a foursome at the Sugarwood Golf Club in Wayne County on Aug. 18, 2012 when a ball hit by one of the other players struck him in the eye, according to his lawsuit.

“Three of the four golfers in the foursome had reached the green,” Navy said. The fourth, fifty yards back, “instructed the other three golfers in the foursome … to ‘putt out,’ which the other three golfers … understood to mean finish playing the hole.”

Navy did just that and had just retrieved his ball from the cup when he was struck in the eye by the fourth player's incoming ball. He says he sustained severe and permanent injuries. Maybe he has.

He also claims that the fourth golfer's behavior “was reckless and an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct in context to the situation and constitutes gross negligence.” That may be true, also.

But when Victor Navy filed suit against that golfer in Kanawha Circuit Court earlier this month, two full years after the incident, he also named the Sugarwood Golf Club as a defendant, claiming it failed to warn him of the dangers of golfing and neglected to apprise him and his partners of “the rules and regulations regarding players conduct and etiquette.”

Victor Navy may have a case against his golfing companion, but not against the club they played at. He might prefer to be in the green than on the green, but blaming blameless parties is not the way to get there.

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