ATLANTA – Six people were injured Saturday when lightning struck a 60-foot pine at the Tour Championship where they were taking cover from rain and showered them with debris, Atlanta police said.
The third round of the season-ending PGA Tour event at East Lake Golf Club had been suspended for about 30 minutes because of storms in the area, and fans were instructed to seek shelter. The strike hit the top of the tree just off the 16th tee and shattered the bark all the way to the bottom.
Ambulances streamed into the private club about 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta. The players already had been taken into the clubhouse before the lightning hit.
Brad Uhl of Atlanta was among those crammed under a hospital tent to the right of the 16th hole that was open to the public.
“There was just a big explosion and then an aftershock so strong you could feel the wind from it,” Uhl said after the last of the ambulances pulled out of the golf course. “It was just a flash out of the corner of the eye.”
Atlanta police spokesman James H. White III said five men and one female juvenile were injured in the lightning strike. He said they were taken to hospitals for further treatment, all of them alert, conscious and breathing.
The PGA Tour canceled the rest of golf Saturday, with the round to resume at 8 a.m. Sunday, followed by the final round.
Last week at the BMW Championship in the Chicago suburbs, Phil Mickelson was delayed getting to the golf course when lightning struck the top of his hotel, causing a precautionary evacuation.