Fans at the World Long Drive Championship in Oklahoma witnessed a feat seldom seen in golfing, as Wes Patterson’s mammoth swing caused his driver to snap in half.
Patterson had established himself as a bright contender in the tournament with a previous effort of 423 yards, already giving credence to the power of his swing.
However, when Patterson went to drive the ball even further, his club snapped due to the impact of the follow through and deflected off his back.
Shrapnel from the misplaced clubhead could be seen littering the crowd as spectators ducked for cover.
As fans looked on, keen to get a glimpse of the ball’s trajectory and potential distance, they were inevitably ill-prepared to shelter from flying objects.
The speed and impact potential of the remnants carried significant danger, but fortunately, no one at the WinStar World Casino and Resort got injured.
Video footage circulating offers evidence of the shock fans felt at the near-miss. With a club speed of 146mph during the shot, shards would have come at spectators in a flash. Fans could be seen with their unlikely souvenirs as a man held the clubhead and others retained remnants of the shaft.
Patterson was as shocked as anyone and later gave his signature on the clubhead to the man reeling from the near-miss.
Watch the incident below.
Patterson has a history in using his power in sport, previously as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball. His retirement through injury lured him to golf, and it seems he has translated his power effectively.
The 400+ yards Patterson reached is typical of long drivers, who often outhit professional golfers. Patterson did beat his opponent Ryan Reisbeck and progressed in the tournament, though, not thanks to this club-shattering shot. The ball actually landed out of bounds and therefore did not count.
The World Long Drive Championship continues as drivers compete for the $125,000 prize. No doubt Patterson is in contention for the winner’s spot.