A New York court recently ruled that it is unreasonable to expect to hear “Fore!” in the case of every single stray ball that might threaten on the golf course. Neurosurgeon Azad Anand was playing golf with a friend of his in October 2002 when a stray ball hit him in the head. The impact blinded him in one eye and left the doctor unable to work following the impact. In cases where a ball is going astray, it is customary for the person who made the shot to shout “Fore!” to alert anyone who might be in the foreseeable danger zone.

It seems that phrase is the sticking point of the matter, as the New York court has ruled that Anand was not in this zone of danger and had consented to a certain degree of risk by agreeing to play. Thus, the court decided that his case was to be dismissed.

However, the facts of the case raise some interesting questions. For one thing, the man whose ball went awry claims he did shout the warning. Thus the claim that Anand was not in the foreseeable zone of danger might not stand as such. If he wasn’t in the zone of danger, why does the defendant claim to have seen and warned him? Further, both Anand and another golfer with him that day testified they did not hear the supposed warning call.

The third party claimed that the defendant and Anand were approximately 20 feet from each other when the shot was made. The defendant disputes this, saying Anand was further away and at a different angle.

The primary argument that Anand’s attorney made was that the case at least deserves a trial rather than summary dismissal, because of disputes such as these and the factual confusion over the case. However, the New York court has elected to disagree, and for now it seems this eight-and-a-half year long lawsuit has ended.