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Jury Hooks Plunked Golfer's Lawsuit

Posted May 11, 2007

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— A jury ruled Friday that a Texas golfer isn't eligible to receive any money in his lawsuit against Pinehurst Resort and another golfer who hit him in the head with a shot.

Businessman John Cottam said he was on the ninth hole of the Pinehurst No. 8 course in September 2003 when Jeff Dalton's tee shot came soaring down the dogleg fairway and struck him in the head. Cottam suffered brain damage from the incident, his attorneys said during the four-week trial.

Cottam initially sued Dalton in Texas, but the suit was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. He refiled the suit in North Carolina two years ago, also naming Pinehurst Resort and its owner, ClubCorp, as defendants, claiming that safety rules weren't posted or enforced.

But a jury said both Cottam and Jeff Dalton, a professional player in Australia, were both negligent in the incident. Under North Carolina law, that prevents Cottam from collecting any damages.

Jurors also cleared the resort and ClubCorp of any wrongdoing.

Local golfers agreed that Dalton should have checked to see if the fairway was clear before teeing off. Monitors are located throughout the course to give golfers a peek at where other foursomes are.

"We always look into (a monitor) before teeing off, and when it's not working, we drive up and take a look," golfer Bruce Monteith said. "It's mostly common sense."

Still, golfers said getting hit by balls is part of the game, and they didn't think Dalton should be held liable for it.

"It's unfortunate that someone gets hit and they're damaged. I've been playing golf for 30 years. I've hit people, and I've been hit," said Robert Hawks, a former Pinehurst Resort employee.

"It was a mistake. I'm sure the guy didn't mean to hit him. It's the rub of the green," golfer Gene Ross said. "It's just part of the game."


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  • Gatsby May 12, 2007

    Golf is a contact sport...its just part of a brutal game

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ May 12, 2007

    What is the purpose of insurance? Shouldn't Pinehurst's insurance cover for the guy's medical at the very least? Accidents happen...

  • Hip-Shot May 12, 2007

    When teeing off it's always proper golf etiquette to make sure the foursome ahead of you is out of harms way before you strike the ball. I have seen impatient morons go ahead and tee off into a foursome if they feel they are playing too slowly.

    I've been playing 30 years and never been hit, although I have had my cart that I was in struck by an duck hook.

  • refiman May 11, 2007

    ever heard of "assumption of risk"???

  • HadMyFill May 11, 2007

    While I don't think he had any merit for a lawsuit, I fail to see how the guy that got hit was negligent. Was it because he was not wearing his golf helmet? Did he try to head the ball into the cup like he was Pele? That is a said state of affairs when you can get cracked in the noggin with a golf ball and somehow be at fault just because you showed up to play a round.

  • duke1man2002 May 11, 2007

    "4" "4" "4"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • redant May 11, 2007

    Right on momuv2. Every activity has risk.

  • Notinitforthemoney May 11, 2007

    "Have you seen my Golf Ball" "Yay"

  • momuv2 May 11, 2007

    If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.

  • daMoFo May 11, 2007

    I had an uncle killed on a golf course when a ball hit him in the head.

    I wonder how the man hit was at fault?