Golfer Not Liable for Errant Golf Ball
(AP) - HONOLULU-A golfer may not be held liable for mistakenly hitting another golfer with an errant golf ball, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled.
The court unanimously upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss Ryan Yoneda's lawsuit against Andrew Tom, whose wayward ball hit Yoneda in the left eye at Mililani Golf Course in 1999.
Chief Justice Ronald Moon wrote Yoneda assumed the risk of the injury when he played golf.
It is "common knowledge that not every shot played by a golfer goes exactly where he intends it to go," the ruling said, adding there wouldn't be much "sport" in the "sport of golf," if golf balls went exactly where the player wanted.
The April 28 ruling makes clear a golfer who intentionally hits a ball to inflict injury, or recklessly hits the ball knowing that injury is highly likely, would not be exempt from liability.
The court considered whether golfers should have to shout "fore" or other warnings to protect other players. The justices concluded, however, that doing so was golf etiquette, not a requirement recognized by law.
"With the ruling that warning is like an option, that's not too good," said Yoneda, who suffered permanent vision damage. "I know what it's like to be hit and I don't want anybody to go through what I went through."