A man was fighting for his life last night after being seriously assaulted by a crowd of spectators on day three of the US Masters at Augusta.
Phil Hamilton, 38, of Nutsack, Oregon was attacked in what police described as a ‘spontaneous, frenzied battering’ after shouting the words ‘get in the hole’ as Fred Couples chipped to the green at the 5th.
Doctors have been battling to stabilise his condition after he underwent two emergency operations to repair a punctured lung and to remove an eight iron.
Hazel Irvine, the BBC presenter, witnessed the incident as she prepared a live report for the broadcaster.
“Everything was fine and peaceful. The ball landed at the edge of the green and started rolling. This man at the front of the crowd then shouted ‘get in the hole’ and looked around smugly to show how clever he’d been and to see where the TV mics were.”
“There was a brief pause and then all hell broke loose. People were screaming ‘I can’t take it any more,’ and ‘kill the moron, cut him, burn him,” she said.
Korean player KJ Choi, who ended the day in joint second with eight under par, was spotted wading into the crowd and landing several wild haymakers on the victim. He later missed an evening function as he drove to retrieve his club from the Augusta General Hospital.
Experts have been trying to ascertain the cause of the disturbance.
“You do get it in the animal kingdom, when a pack will suddenly turn on one of its own,” said one.
“They may be seen as weak, or endangering the herd.”
“What seems to have happened here is that a big group of people subconsciously and spontaneously perceived that the entire nature of human evolution was threatened by a man shouting ‘get in the hole’ at a golf event.”
“In essence, they decided that he was too much of a danger to the human race to live.”