ESPN anchor Sage Steele reportedly is recovering at home after she was apparently hit in the face by a drive from Jon Rahm at the PGA Championship on Thursday.
Steele, who was at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to help with the network’s coverage of the second major championship of the season, has since traveled home to Connecticut, according to the New York Post. She won’t be part of any coverage through the rest of the tournament.
According to reporter Geoff Shackelford, Steele was “on the ground, holding her nose, mouth or chin area,” and her hands were “covered in blood.” Rahm had hooked his tee shot left into the trees, though eventually ended up in the middle of the fairway.
Rahm, per Shackelford, yelled out a warning and waived his arm left, as he knew the shot was going wide left of the fairway. It’s unclear if the ball hit anything else, or if it hit only Steele, but neither Rahm nor his caddie seemed to notice that she had been injured in the moment.
Steele, per the New York Post, was hospitalized Thursday, though she walked off the course under her own power. The extent of her injuries is unclear. The PGA of America and ESPN declined to comment to the New York Post or Shackelford.
Steele, 49, has been with ESPN since 2007 and is a frequent “SportsCenter” host while providing coverage for numerous other events on the network, including The Masters. She filed a lawsuit against ESPN earlier this year, claiming the network violated her free speech rights after her controversial comments about COVID-19 vaccine mandates and questioning why former President Barack Obama identified as Black.
Rahm, after opening with a 73, posted a 1-under 69 on Friday to get to 2-over, which is inside of the projected cutline.
Aaron Wise hit in head by tee shot
Steele isn’t the only one to have gotten hit by a golf ball this week.
On Friday, Aaron Wise was struck in the back of the head by a tee shot from Cameron Smith while standing on the seventh hole. Wise dropped to a knee and stayed down for some time while using his water bottle as a makeshift ice pack, though he eventually finished his round.
"You could hear it," playing partner Joel Dahmen said, via Golf.com. "All the spectators heard it. It was loud. ... We were in that right rough area and he just got domed."
Wise finished 2-over 72 on Friday and sits at 1-over through 36 holes. Thankfully, he had just three holes left on his round when he was hit in the head, though he went 1-over during that span.
“He was definitely shook getting into his next shot, for sure,” Dahmen said, via Golf.com. “But by the time he got up to the green he was fine.”