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December 02, 2013

Judge: Playing partners not legally obligated to yell 'Fore!'

Posted at 3:50 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Rules of Golf

If your playing partner hits his drive long and wide, do you have a legal responsibility to yell, “Fore!”?

No, says New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena.

Judge Vena’s ruling was part of a case involving an errant tee shot that injured a golfer’s eye at Skyview Golf Course in Sparta, N.J. The Newark Star-Ledger has the details:

James Corino needed multiple procedures to restore vision to his right eye after he was struck by an errant mulligan as he prepared to hit a shot from the 15th fairway at Sparta’s Skyview Golf Course two years ago.

The trouble was, in a clear violation of golfing rules and etiquette, no one bothered to yell “fore,” Corino claims.

The ball struck by Kyle Duffy sliced off the neighboring 16th tee, shattering Corino’s sunglasses, the broken shards of glass cutting his eye, Corino also claims.

In his ruling, Judge Vena sounds like he consulted both New Jersey law and the rules of golf in clearing playing partners Bryan Chovanec and Thomas Schweizer of wrongdoing.

“Plaintiff (Corino) has failed to provide any evidence to demonstrate that Mr. Chovanec and Mr. Schweizer were obligated to yell fore or otherwise warn Mr. Corino of Mr. Duffy’s errant shot,” the judge wrote. “That duty, according to the Rules, belonged solely to the acting player, Mr. Duffy.”

But while his playing partners are no longer involved, Duffy is still the defendant in Corino’s lawsuit. The lesson for all us golfers: Always yell “fore!” after a wayward tee shot, it doesn’t cost you anything and it could save everyone a bunch.

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