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 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.
“It seemed like a tall tree in the middle of a flat golf course was a good place to get out of the storm. Dude, someone got struck by lightning right next to us.”
“There was just a big explosion and then an aftershock so strong you could feel the wind from it. It was just a flash out of the corner of the eye. It was raining and everyone was huddled near the tree.”
Atlanta Police spokesman James H. White III said five men and one female juvenile had sought shelter beneath the tree that was struck by lightning. He said they were taken to hospitals for further treatment, all of them alert, conscious and breathing.
Justin Thomas, who had a one-shot lead through five holes when play was halted, said players were eating in the clubhouse when “it felt like the entire clubhouse shook” from the thunder clap. “The first I heard anything was from one of my friends who came out to watch,” Thomas said. “He said, ‘Dude, I think someone got struck by lightning right next to us.’”