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Wayward shots

PGA Championship 2022: Cam Smith’s beaning of Aaron Wise gets weirder when you learn Smith had no idea it happened

TULSA — Errant shots are an unintended consequence of any golf tournament, and the possibility of marshals, fans or even players being hit is a constant. Thankfully, when such cases happen, they usually aren’t too serious, a bruised arm or leg the normal result, followed by an apology and a signed golf glove.

At the PGA Championship, however, a pair of wayward shots stood out because they hit people in the face and head, and the people who were hit were more than just casual golf fans.

On Thursday, Jon Rahm’s pulled tee shot unfortunately hit ESPN host Sage Steele, according to a report from The incident occurred at the par-4 third hole, where Rahm badly hooked his tee shot and immediately screamed "Fore left!" Steele, who was in Tulsa covering the PGA Championship for ESPN's "Sportscenter", was not working but standing underneath a tree in the left rough when Rahm's ball hit her in the face. An eyewitness told Shackelford they saw Steele "on the ground, holding her nose, mouth, or chin area" and her hands were "covered in blood." Video of the Rahm tee shot on, which is showing every shot from every player this week, seems to confirm the eyewitness' claim.

On Friday, it was a fellow player who fell victim of a wayward drive, Aaron Wise hit in the head mistakenly by Cameron Smith. Smith teed off on the second hole and he drive went way right, aided by a strong left to right wind, into the adjacent seventh hole.

Wise was shaken up, taking time on the ground to get settled, before moving on.

“I was surprised my ball wasn’t in the fairway, and the next thing you know, there’s a little bit of ringing in my head and I was down on the fairway,” Wise told after the round.

“All the spectators heard it,” said Joel Dahmen of the contact. “It was loud.”

Wise somehow went on to par his hole, and finish the round with a two-over 72. He continued to get treatment on his head after the round but appeared to be OK.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of adrenaline in the body after something like that happens,” Wise said, “so it’s really just trying to calm myself down and get back to feeling somewhat normal for the last few holes.”

What made the Wise/Smith exchange a bit more awkward was the fact that Smith had no idea what had happened until after his round. When being interviewed by Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, Smith was asked about the incident. With a genuine look of shock, Smith responded:

"Oh, I didn’t know that. No one told me. Oh, I’m so sorry. That’s the first time that I’ve heard it," Smith said. "I hope he’s alright."

Replays show that Smith and his playing partners all yelled “Fore!” but the distance and the winds must have kept anyone from hear hit.

And Wise had already moved up the hole by the time Smith got to the ball so Smith did not realize what was going on.