‘He just got domed’: Pro takes drive to head at PGA Championship

Aaron Wise took a drive to the head at the PGA Championship.

Aaron Wise took a drive to the head at Southern Hills.

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TULSA, Okla. — Aaron Wise and Joel Dahmen were walking down the seventh hole — their 16th of the day — when they reached Dahmen’s golf ball. They’d each driven it down the right side, so Wise leaned over to make sure. And then…

“I think he bent down to look at my ball and then the ball hit him in the head,” Dahmen said after the round, wide-eyed. “Where the hell did that come from?

Wise went down to a knee. The ball ricocheted forward another 40 yards. A murmur ran through the crowd.

“You could hear it,” Dahmen said. “All the spectators heard it. It was loud.”

Wise came off the course rubbing his head and got an ice pack as he signed his scorecard. He told several members of his team that he was “fine,” but headed to receive medical attention immediately after.

“We were in that right rough area and he just got domed,” Dahmen said. As the pair signed their scorecards, Wise pointed out a reddish mark on his hat, resulting from the Sharpie mark on Smith’s ball. He’d been struck on top of the head, just over the lettering.

As for the ball’s origins? It came off the driver of Cameron Smith, who was teeing off the adjacent second hole. Smith appeared to be aimed down the right side of the fairway but misfired, one-handing the club through impact and immediately signaling to the right. His caddied yelled “Fore!” Smith did, too. Nobody heard them.

“It’s so far away, there are so many people and the wind’s blowing, you’re not going to hear it if anyone says fore,” Dahmen said. “I don’t fault Cam for that at all. A hundred people could have yelled fore and you wouldn’t hear it.”

An official came over to check on Wise’s well-being. Wise’s caddie and Dahmen’s caddie Geno Bonnalie swooped in, too. The group had just been given a pace-of-play warning, so Dahmen headed off a rules official.

“I just called a rules official over and said, look, this guy’s playing well, I don’t want this to somehow put us on the clock — me and Jared are missing the cut by a mile anyway, we don’t care about that stuff,” he said. Wise was one over par for the round and even for the tournament at the time. “I was worried about him getting out of rhythm and stuff. But he seemed fine. He took it in stride.”

After 30 seconds or so, Wise stood up and prepared to hit his approach into No. 7.

“He was definitely shook getting into his next shot, for sure,” Dahmen said. “But by the time he got up to the green he was fine.”

Wise missed the green right but hit a nifty chip to five feet and rolled in the putt. He missed the eighth green to the left but hit a nifty chip to three feet there, too, and saved par again. But a wayward tee shot at No. 9 led to bogey and Wise settled for a second-round two-over 72, leaving him one over par for the tournament.

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.