Paris, France, Oct 2 – Triple major winner Brooks Koepka said Tuesday he was “heartbroken” that a Ryder Cup fan hit by his wayward tee shot had been blinded in one eye.
Koepka posted a statement on Twitter saying he had been in contact with Corine Remande and her family and offered his “heartfelt sympathy”.
Frenchwoman Remande, aged 49, said she was taking legal action against the event’s organisers after being hit on Friday’s opening day, when Koepka’s drive on the par-four sixth hole careered into the crowd at Le Golf National near Paris.
“I spoke to her at the time on the golf course and after now learning her condition is worse than first thought, I have made contact with her family to offer my sincere and heartfelt sympathy,” said Koepka.
“I am heartbroken by the incident. My thoughts remain with Ms. Remande and her family, and I have asked to be kept informed on her condition.”
Remande launched her legal action in the French city of Lyon on Tuesday. The complaint, seen by AFP, alleges organisers were responsible for “a lack of safety rules”.
“The player should have shouted ‘ball’, or ‘fore’ for English speakers. Given the distance, the stewards should have relayed this information to the green,” she adds in the complaint.
Remande told AFP after being examined at a Lyon hospital on Monday: “They told me I’d lost the sight in my right eye and this was confirmed to me today.”
She has a fractured eye socket and a damaged eyeball.
Remande said there was no warning from stewards at the course before the ball hurtled into the gallery.
“Quite clearly, there is responsibility on the part of the organisers,” she told AFP.
She and her husband Raphael had travelled to France from their home in Egypt to watch the biennial showdown between Europe and the United States.
Ryder Cup organisers said they would “continue to offer support” to Remande, but said a warning was shouted to spectators.
– ‘Extremely rare’ –
“We can confirm that ‘fore’ was shouted several times but also appreciate how hard it can be to know when and where every ball is struck if you are in the crowd,” a statement said.
“It is distressing to hear that someone might suffer long term consequences from a ball strike,” the organisers said. “Ball strikes are an occasional hazard for spectators but this kind of incident is extremely rare.”
Organisers said they had been in contact with the family and had helped “with the logistics of repatriation, including providing a transfer for the family from Paris to Lyon.
“We will continue to offer support for as long as necessary.
“We are hugely sympathetic and will do everything we can to support the spectator, insofar as that is possible under very difficult circumstances.”
Remande received first aid on the spot before being transferred to a specialist eye hospital in Paris.
She was then driven to her parents’ home in Lyon after doctors advised her not to fly immediately back to Egypt.
Remande said: “More than anything I want them to take care of all the medical bills to make sure there is no risk of infection.”