WAYNE WRIGHT IS A 14 HANDICAPPER who, like a lot of seniors, is losing distance off the tee but makes up for it with a good short game. The 71-year-old retiree plays four times a week at a 45-hole public golf facility near his home in Sarasota, Florida.
And, as of a week ago, Wright shouts "fore" on every shot he hits.
The new on-course behavior stems from a lawsuit involving two doctors reported by various media. During a round on a Long Island golf course, one of the doctors was blinded when struck by the other doctor's golf ball. The blinded doctor filed a lawsuit against the other doctor for not yelling "fore."
In Sarasota Wright's deep baritone voice can be heard throughout the golf course as he warns fellow golfers on each swing of the club. The retired contracts administrator said it was awkward the first round (especially at the crowded first tee area) but is now used to it. He told a reporter that it has become as much a part of his routine as replacing a divot or fixing a ball mark.
Yet Wright did admit that repeated shouts of "fore" seem like overkill to the course's other golfers and has had some unintended consequences. It began when the first of his three regular playing partners dropped out of his foursome five days ago.
"Wayne is a good player," said Phil, who didn't give his last name.
"He hits a nice little fade down the ol' fairway and has never hit nobody as long as I can remember. I hated to break up the group over it …. But other than that, Wayne's a really, really great guy."
Fred, the worst player in the foursome, was next to hang it up. He made it through three games with Wright before asking the starter to find him a new morning group.
"I promised Wayne I wouldn't sue him no matter what happened on the golf course. I even offered to put it in writing if he would stop it."
Wife Not Surprised
One person unfazed by Wright's odd new approach on the golf course is his wife.
"Wayne has always erred on the side of caution," she said.
"That's kind of been his motto ever since we've been together. Even though he's retired, he still likes to review indemnification clauses in his spare time."
Wright is down to one golf partner. The loud twosome has caused other morning groups to rearrange their tee times in an effort to avoid being within earshot of Wright. For now, the remaining golfer, a man named Felix, is sticking with Wright.
"The hardest part," he said, "is when Wayne yells 'fore' on putts."