Ryder Cup 2018

Ryder Cup: Brooks Koepka ‘heartbroken’ after blinding spectator in one eye with ball

US golfer offers ‘sincere and heartfelt sympathy’ following wayward tee shot that caused Frenchwoman’s eyeball to ‘explode’ at Le Golf National

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2018, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2018, 5:28pm

Brooks Koepka has said he is “heartbroken” after the spectator he accidentally struck with an errant tee shot at the Ryder Cup revealed she had lost the sight in her right eye.

The American’s drive on the par-four sixth hole at Le Golf National veered left into the galleries and hit the unsuspecting Corine Remande, who had travelled from Egypt to watch the tournament.

Koepka went over to console the stricken 49-year-old Frenchwoman and gave her an autographed glove in apology as medical staff treated her. She was later taken to an eye hospital in Paris.

“I was deeply hurt and saddened by the tragic accident,” three-time major champion Koepka tweeted.

Ryder Cup spectator hit by Brooks Koepka ball left blind in one eye with organisers facing legal action

He added: “I have made contact with her family to offer my sincere and heartfelt sympathy. I am heartbroken by the incident.

“My thoughts remain with Ms Remande and her family, and I have asked to be kept informed on her condition.”

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Remande told Agence France-Presse that a scan on Friday confirmed “a fracture of the right eye socket and an explosion of the eyeball”.

“It happened so fast, I didn’t feel any pain when I was hit,” she said. “I didn’t feel like the ball had struck my eye and then I felt the blood start to pour.”

Remande said she was considering legal action against tournament organisers after the shocking incident.

A Ryder Cup statement said on Tuesday: “It is distressing to hear that someone might suffer long term consequences from a ball strike.

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“The spectator hit by a ball at the sixth hole during Friday’s play was treated by first responders immediately and taken to hospital.

“We have been in communication with the family involved, starting with the immediate on-course treatment and thereafter to provide support, helping with the logistics of repatriation, including providing a transfer for the family from Paris to Lyon. We will continue to offer support for as long as necessary.

“Ball strikes are an occasional hazard for spectators but this kind of incident is extremely rare. We can confirm that ‘fore’ was shouted several times but also appreciate how hard it can be to know when and where every ball is struck if you are in the crowd.

“We are hugely sympathetic and will do everything we can to support the spectator, insofar as that is possible under very difficult circumstances.”

Three-time major champion Koepka and other players can be heard shouting “fore” on television footage after he pulled his shot into the crowd.

“You can yell fore, but it doesn’t matter,” the 28-year-old had said on Friday. “If you’re 150 yards, and you’re shouting fore, you can hear it. But from 300 yards, even if none of us said fore, she’s going to get hit, and that’s the unfortunate thing.”

The tee on the sixth hole at Le Golf National had been moved forward to allow players to try to drive the green, a strategy aimed at playing into the European’s team’s strengths.

“It’s not a fun feeling. I probably do it way more than I should,” Koepka said on Friday. “It seems just about every week we’re hitting somebody, and you know, it’s unfortunate. You’re never trying to.

“It doesn’t feel good, it really doesn’t. You feel terrible for them. You know exactly how they are feeling, especially when you’ve got to go over there and apologise, because they are in pain, usually bleeding, and then to hit her in the face – you don’t want to hit anybody in the face, especially not a woman, and it’s not a good feeling.”