Dear Mr. Freeman,
I am the spectator whose head interrupted the arc of your flying
driver on the 11th hole last Saturday during the Buick Classic at
Westchester Country Club. I didn't see what happened because my
view was obstructed by the gallery in front of me, but a friend
told me later that after you hit a bad drive, you started to slam
your club on the ground in anger. Before the club hit the turf,
it slipped out of your hands and went flying into the crowd. The
shaft glanced off a woman standing in front of me, and the metal
clubhead hit me a couple inches above my left ear. Luckily, all I
got was a welt, but the damage could have been much worse.
Stunned by the blow, I watched as your caddie retrieved the club.
You then gave a hurried apology to the woman in front of me, who
was uninjured. I wasn't surprised that you didn't apologize to
me, because I didn't indicate that I had been hit.
In fact, it wasn't until you walked back to the fairway that I
realized I had quite a lump. Fortunately, I was well attended to
by a paramedic and by tournament officials. I even stayed at the
course and watched golf for another hour before going home.
I've attended numerous college and professional athletic events
without mishap, so you can imagine my surprise at being clunked
in the head by a club at a PGA Tour event. Golf fans are
fortunate to be able to get so close to the action, and seeing
players like you in human terms is what attracts big galleries.
Showing emotion on the course is a good thing. Demonstrating
emotion without thinking of the consequences is not.
Please, Mr. Freeman, for the good of the game and the safety of
the fans, keep your cool in the heat of battle and never again
lose control of your club as you did last Saturday.
Sincerely, Christine Zwinscher
Christine Zwinscher, 51, is a teacher in Pleasant Valley, N.Y.
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK