Spectator hit in head by broken club at Web.com event, requires stitches

Golf


A spectator was injured and required stitches after player Kevin Stadler‘s club head came loose and flew into the gallery Friday at a Web.com Tour event near Portland, Oregon.

Stadler, the son of former Masters champion Craig Stadler, was playing in the WinCo Foods Portland Open when he slammed his club to the turf in anger and up against his foot on the 15th hole of the second round.

The club broke somewhere near the bottom of the shaft and hit a spectator in the head, causing injuries that required six stitches, according to Orlando Pope, a Web.com Tour rules official who got an explanation from players in the group.

“It was a very freakish accident,” Pope said via phone from Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, where the third round was being played Saturday. “Kevin is devastated. He had trouble trying to finish the round. He was quite worried and felt so bad.”

Stadler ended up missing the cut in the last regular-season event of the Web.com Tour schedule. He was not available for comment. The Web.com Tour is a developmental circuit for the PGA Tour.

Neither Web.com Tour nor tournament officials would release the name of the spectator. Pope said the spectator was treated on site, then taken to a local hospital, received six stitches and was released. There were no further details on his condition.

Stadler was in the same group with Jonathan Hodge, who was competing in the third round Saturday, and Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Championship winner who will soon turn 50 and join the Champions Tour.

Micheel posted to his Facebook account about the incident but would not discuss it further.

“I had my head down but the club head flew behind me and hit a spectator to my right,” Micheel wrote as part of the post. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen so much blood. We stayed with him for about 15 minutes before the EMTs arrived. …

“[Stadler] was absolutely shattered and we did our best to keep his spirits up. This was not done on purpose and we were astounded at the way the club was directed, but it just shows you how dangerous it is to throw or break clubs. Each of us in the group learned something today.”

Stadler, 38, won the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open and has four Web.com tour victories. He made no starts on the PGA Tour in either of the past two years because of a broken bone in his left hand. He played just two events on the Web.com Tour this year before the Portland tournament.

ESPN’s Michael Collins contributed to this report.



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