Fans injured as lightning strikes at Tour Championship

Joel Beall, Brian Wacker

ATLANTA — Lightning strikes during Saturday's Tour Championship have left multiple fans injured.

Two lightning strikes happened at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta at 4:45 p.m. ET, one hitting a maintenance area and another striking a fan zone near the 16th tee box. Debris from that strike injured at least four people.

NBC Sports television cameras captured the moment lightning hit the tree.

Ambulance sirens rang out across the property as medical personnel raced to the scene. According to the PGA Tour, "EMT tended to those fans and two others immediately and transported them from the property via ambulance for further medical attention."

The latest report from tournament officials stated the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

"We put on the scoreboard the weather was approaching and tell fans to take shelter, but often times they don't," said the PGA Tour's Mark Russell, head of Rules and Competition. "We opened up hospitality areas that are grounded, a lot of other places like that. You've got a lot of people, and you have to do that quickly, and sometimes people don't take shelter."

TOUR Championship - Round Three

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 24: An ambulance arrives to provide medical assistance after a lightning strike during a suspension of the third round due to inclement weather of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on August 24, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka

Tyler Dennis, senior vice president & chief of operations, said the tour has "several layers of safety" for these situations.

"We have the plan each week to evacuate everybody inside the ropes, and the tournament also has a comprehensive plan to evacuate everyone outside of the ropes, meaning spectators and other constituents," Dennis said.

Russell said there were no concerns in moving up the tee times—it was sunny and temperatures in the high 70s Saturday morning—stating they have staff officials, technology, and equipment specifically dedicated to monitoring weather and safety.

Players were taken off the course at 4:17 p.m. after the tournament was suspended for an approaching storm. The tournament has been called for the day; play will resume on Sunday at 8 a.m.

UPDATE, Sunday 9 a.m. — The people who were injured at East Lake Golf Club during Saturday's lightning strike have been released from the hospital, the PGA Tour confirmed Sunday morning. Play resumed on schedule at 8 a.m.

Originally Appeared on Golf Digest