Golf may be among the least hazardous sports for its participants, but for spectators, it's got to be right at the top of the list. When you're standing along those gallery ropes, you never know quite when an errant shot's going to come straight at you.
It's a lucky fan who escapes one of these wild shots with nothing more than a good story, a bruise and perhaps a signed golf glove. But it's a lucky player who can use the ol' fan-ricochet to put himself in a better position than he was before.
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was in real trouble on the 14th at Royal St. George's at the British Open, his ball sailing toward deep rough, when it clocked a spectator and ended up in a playable bunker.
"I've been in so many bunkers," said Schwartzel. "But this one was a good break. I hit my three-wood a bit left and it caught someone on the head and ran into the bunker. But it was a good break. Sometimes you're going to need those sort of things to happen to go your way. I felt sorry for the guy but it's one of those things."
No word on whether Schwartzel gave the fan anything for the pain; it's customary to sign some equipment and pass it along. And while nobody knew who he was going into the Masters, he finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open, and might just be headed for another astonishing finish in the British.
Schwartzel finished the day within two strokes of the clubhouse leaders, so perhaps the fan was a good-luck charm. If that's so, heads up in the galleries; Charl may be gunning for you this weekend.
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