PORTLAND, Ore. — Spectators watching golf tournaments are always alert to errant balls flying into the crowd. A piece of a golf club is a different matter.
A spectator needed stitches Friday in Oregon when the head of Kevin Stadler's golf club came loose and flew into the gallery at a Web.com Tour event, ESPN reported.
Stadler, 38, was playing in the WinCo Foods Portland Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club when he hit an errant tee shot at the 15th hole and slammed his 7-iron to the ground, The New York Post reported. The club head broke when it hit Stadler's foot and flew into the crowd, hitting a spectator in the head, the newspaper reported.
The spectator needed six stitches, Web.com Tour rules official Orlando Pope told ESPN.
"It was a very freakish accident,'' Pope told ESPN on Saturday. "Kevin is devastated. He had trouble trying to finish the round. He was quite worried and felt so bad."
Tournament officials did not release the name of the spectator. Stadler, the son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler, missed the cut in the tournament. He was not available for comment, ESPN reported.
Shaun Micheel, who was playing in the same group as Stadler on Friday, posted about the incident on his Facebook account, according to ESPN.
“I had my head down but the club head flew behind me and hit a spectator to my right," Micheel wrote. “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.”