ATLANTA — Five people were injured Saturday when lightning struck a 60-foot pine at the Tour Championship, showering the area 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.
Brad Uhl of Atlanta was among those crammed under a hospital tent to the right of the 16th hole that was open to the public.
“There was just a big explosion and then an aftershock so strong you could feel the wind from it,” Ulh said after the last of the ambulances pulled out of the golf course. “It was just a flash out of the corner of the eye. It was raining and everyone was huddled near the tree.”
Uhl said the people on the ground were moving around before the ambulances arrived.
Atlanta Police spokesman James H. White III said four adults and one female juvenile had sought shelter beneath a tree. Lightning struck the tree and all five were injured. He said there were taken to hospitals for further treatment, all of them alert, conscious and breathing.
Ambulances streamed into the private club about 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta, where 30 players are competing for the FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize. The players already had been taken into the clubhouse before lightning hit, and before long East Lake was hit with a ground-shaking clap of thunder.
The PGA Tour canceled the rest of golf Saturday, with the round to resume at 8 a.m. Sunday, followed by the final round.