No Forewarning Necessary

Thanks to reader Jonathon for this story out of Hawaii where the state Supreme Court ruled that a golfer may not be held liable for mistakenly hitting another golfer with an errant golf ball.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon wrote Yoneda assumed the risk of the injury when he played golf.

It is "common knowledge that not every shot played by a golfer goes exactly where he intends it to go," the ruling said, adding there wouldn't be much "sport" in the "sport of golf," if golf balls went exactly where the player wanted.

The April 28 ruling makes clear a golfer who intentionally hits a ball to inflict injury, or recklessly hits the ball knowing that injury is highly likely, would not be exempt from liability.

Gee, you think?

The court considered whether golfers should have to shout "fore" or other warnings to protect other players. The justices concluded, however, that doing so was golf etiquette, not a requirement recognized by law.

Yoneda, 33, said many people would get hurt because the ruling didn't require golfers to yell a word of caution on the greens.

"With the ruling that warning is like an option, that's not too good," Yoneda said. "I know what it's like to be hit and I don't want anybody to go through what I went through."

In a sworn deposition in the case, Tom said he was about 175 yards from the green in the light rough when he hooked his 5-iron shot to the left.

The ball hit the fairway, bounced into the rough, then a dirt area, then on a cart path before it hit Yoneda who was riding on a golf cart to the sixth hole, the court said.

Tom, 33, said he didn't yell "fore" because he hadn't seen the cart.

And this was interesting...

Gary Wild, president of the Hawaii State Golf Association, said U.S. Golf Association etiquette rules require a player to shout a warning if the ball is in danger of hitting someone.

Starting two years ago, a player who repeatedly violates that rule can be disqualified, Wild added.