“You pays your money, you takes your chances!”

Recently, during the Ryder Cup, a woman spectator was hit in the eye by a golf ball, and subsequently lost the sight in that eye.  When I read about the incident, my immediate reaction was what one would expect.  I felt tremendous sympathy.  After all, this poor woman started her day excited at the prospect of watching the best golfers in the world compete in person, before her very eyes.  Before the day was over, she had lost an eye.  What a tragedy.

This morning, however, when I read that the woman intends to take legal action against the organization that runs the tournament, my response to the article was entirely different.  I was angry.  Sure, I feel terrible about what happened to her.  Who wouldn’t?  But holding the organizers responsible?  Give me a break.  It’s a golf tournament.  At any given moment, there are at least a dozen or two, rock hard, golf balls flying around in the air.  If you are anywhere on the grounds of the course, there is a reasonable chance that you could be hit.  It happens all the time at other sporting events, like hockey and baseball games.

What could the organizers have done differently?  Not much.  When an errant shot is struck by a golfer, it is his or her responsibility to shout “Fore,” which, in this case, Brooks Koepke, the golfer in question, did.  Marshals engaged by the organizers of golf tournaments diligently restrain spectators, who often ignore their instructions to gain a better view of the action.  It’s a risk they take.  But just being on the course is also a risk, and anyone attending a touronament should  be aware of that.   The only way to be assured of not being struck by a golf ball, a baseball, or a hockey puck is to watch the game on TV.

In this case, my sympathy ended when the lawsuit began.  In other words, as someone far wiser than I once said, “You pays your money, you takes your chances!”  Sorry, but that’s just how I feel.  Comments?

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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27 Responses to “You pays your money, you takes your chances!”

  1. mallydavid says:

    I agree with you article , Joe. Meantime, can you give me an idea how everything is going. Thanks, love.



  2. allenrizzi says:

    Sounds like she’s on the ball but law suits are epidemic in our country. I agree. It’s like if you want to smoke cigarettes, great. Just don’t sue anyone when you get cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KiM says:

    I have too much empathy. I tear up when I think about how someone else may feel in addition to how I feel about my own life BUT, I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. If the golfer hadn’t yelled Fore I would feel a bit different. I would almost bet you had a lawsuit not been filed an offer to pay for medical assistance might have been offered anyway from the golfer or course.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glenda says:

    I imagine that once a lawyer found out the place has plenty of insurance just for such an accident, that set the ball rolling. No one has sympathy for insurance companies these days. Lawyers go for deep pockets and promise their clients all kinds of things. I imagine that woman has big medical expenses for her eye, and if the golf course has insurance that will pay her, I understand her doing this. I also agree that we have way too many frivolous lawsuits these days, things that hold up the courts when they should be handling other more important issues. But I know that many people don’t have insurance that would help with a major medical expense. Most people don’t go to a golf course or a baseball game expecting to be hit in the eye. But it happens and that is why these venues carry big insurance policies to protect them. I am liable for anyone who comes to my house to take writing classes. If they fall or get hurt on the premises I have to have insurance because they could sue me. Luckily, the only injury that has occurred was to a friend, and she got over it.
    I’m sure Joe has plenty of compassion for others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Allie P. says:

    Agreed, unless the golf balls were expected to hit some invisible force field that failed to protect the spectators due to improper safety checks or similar nonsense, there is no case.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Celia Miles says:

    I’m totally with you on this one! Did it start with the hot MacDonald’s coffee?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It seems that society has gone sue crazy… Sad, but true.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rick Dawley says:

    You are anything but heartless and I agree with you. Next she’ll sue the manufacturers of the ball and the golf club. How about the golf course owners? Don’t know that much about French law (except that there is no presumption of innocence in criminal cases), but she might actually lose the suit here in the US even if she hadn’t read the small print on her ticket. Certainly hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bruce Pfeffer says:

    The question is not whether she gave up her right to sue because of the inherent dangers in watching the sport, but whether the course management took reasonable steps to insure the safety of spectators. To withhold compassion because an injured person is seeking compensation is cruel. You may imagine that the management did all they could and there is a mistaken trust that businesses are proactive in providing safety. That may have been true a half century ago, but in my experience, companies big and small worship the buck and their customers and employees be damned. Compensation to injured people is their only impetus to being responsible

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, no one said I didn’t have compassion for her for her injury. But, short of enveloping every spectator in a steel mesh suit, there is very little organizers can do to protect them from an errant golf ball. Even a properly struck ball can hit a rock or sprinkler head and deflect into the crowd. I don’t disagree with your basic premise: the callous pursuit of the almighty dollar. But in this instance, I don’t think that is what’s in play here (pun intended).
      Still friends? 🙂


      • Bruce Pfeffer says:

        Yes. Still friends. It got a little personal for me. My daughter lost her sight at 12, due to incompetence during the hospital emergency treatment. We never sued, and her recovery from viral meningitis was both awful and amazing. No money could buy the blessings she got in the form of caring strangers who helped her recover.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m so sorry to hear that about your daughter, but glad that she is doing okay. I have double vision due to two surgeries for a detached retina. A lot of people told me I should have sued my surgeon, but my feeling was he saved my sight; I wouldn’t dream of suing him. I knew going in that 50% of all people who had the surgery I did had double vision, and that half of them ended up with it permanently, so I knew there was a 25% chance that my double vision would be permanent. Through the grace of God, I have learned to adapt, and even shot an 86 in golf after my surgery. Life is a series of accidents: some are good, some not so much. We play the hand we’re dealt. 🙂


    • I know Joe well. He is compassionate to a tee (intended pun). This same woman could have suffered the loss of an eye if she had been the golfer and the struck ball came back at her from hitting a tree trunk. Then would see sue? Perhaps the landscaper for planting a tree where she would, one day, hit the ball?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane Raffo Nocella says:

    I totally agree with you! Our society has evolved to the point where there always has to be somebody to blame and then sue!

    Liked by 1 person

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