A Ryder Cup fan whose eye exploded when she was hit by a golf ball says she could have been killed.
Corine Remande, 49, had travelled to France from Egypt with her husband Raphael to watch the biennial showdown between Europe and the United States, held at Le Golf National club in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines just outside Paris.
But the avid golf fan’s holiday ended abruptly when a tee shot from American Brooks Koepka veered left, landed among a crowd of spectators on the sixth hole and hit her in the right eye.
She has told BBC Sport it could have been much worse had the ball missed her right eye and hit the side of her head.
Mrs Remande, who works for a charity in Cairo, said: ‘For me, it’s finished. I could not speak with you.’
The Frenchwoman is planning legal action against the organisers claiming the officials did not give adequate warnings before the ball hurtled into the gallery.
She said: ‘It’s so nice to be on the golf course, to see the players.
‘I hope that this terrible accident will improve safety for the public.
‘The doctor said immediately to my husband that it was a very big explosion in my eye and it was impossible for me now to see again with this eye.
‘I don’t know how to live with only one eye. I like walking, sport, going to the gym and playing golf,’ she added.
US Open champion Koepka swiftly apologised to Remande following the incident and she says she does not blame him and ‘appreciated the gesture from the golfer’.
At the time she said: ‘I tried to stay positive with him so that he didn’t lose his concentration,
‘But once I was taken away, I didn’t hear anything from the organisers.’
Remande was set to consult a lawyer on Tuesday with a view to seeking damages.
She said: ‘More than anything I want them to take care of all the medical bills to make sure there is no risk of infection.
The scans on her eye revealed a ‘fracture of the right socket and the explosion of the eyeball’, which, she said, surgeons managed to sew back together.
She added: ‘However they told me I’d lost the sight in my right eye, and this was what was confirmed to me today (Monday).’
Her husband said: ‘In the best case scenario, she may be able to see shapes after the bruising eases in a month or so.’
At the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland on Tuesday Koepka said: ‘It’s a tragic accident, I’m heartbroken,’
‘I’m all messed up inside. It will definitely be the one shot I regret in my career. Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life.’
Koepka said he had reached out to the family and hopes to talk to Remande.
‘I’m torn up about it,’ he added. ‘She’s not going to be able to see out of her eye again and I hit the golf ball, it’s upsetting.’
In a statement, a Ryder Cup spokesperson said the spectator would be offered ‘support for as long as necessary’ but that the traditional ‘fore’ warning was ‘shouted several times’ before she was hit.
‘Quite clearly, there is responsibility on the part of the organisers,’ Remande told AFP as she left the Croix-Rousse hospital in Lyon.
‘Officials did not shout any warning as the player’s ball went into the crowd.’
Remande received first aid on the spot before being transferred to a specialist eye hospital in Paris.
She was then driven to her parents’ home in Lyon after doctors advised her not to fly immediately back to Egypt.
In a statement, a Ryder Cup spokesperson said: ‘It is distressing to hear that someone might suffer long-term consequences from a ball strike.
‘The spectator hit by a ball at the sixth hole during Friday’s play was treated by first responders immediately and taken to hospital.
‘We have been in communication with the family involved, starting with the immediate on-course treatment and thereafter to provide support, helping with the logistics of repatriation, including providing a transfer for the family from Paris to Lyon. We will continue to offer support for as long as necessary.
‘Ball strikes are an occasional hazard for spectators but this kind of incident is extremely rare. We can confirm that ‘fore’ was shouted several times but also appreciate how hard it can be to know when and where every ball is struck if you are in the crowd.
‘We are hugely sympathetic and will do everything we can to support the spectator, insofar as that is possible under very difficult circumstances.’
Europe captain Thomas Bjorn told Press Association Sport: ‘For me, the whole team I represent and everybody at Ryder Cup Europe, it’s just a terrible thing and something that you don’t want to happen.
‘It’s terrible, it’s a freak accident that’s happened, and all our thoughts are with her.’
Koepka, the reigning US Open and US PGA champion, went on to win his match with Tony Finau, beating Justin Rose and Jon Rahm, but was still upset about the incident afterwards.
‘It looked like it hit her right in the eye, so hopefully there’s no, you know, loss of vision or anything like that,’ Koepka said.
‘But it’s not a fun feeling. I probably do it way more than I should. It seems just about every week we’re hitting somebody, and you know, it’s unfortunate. You’re never trying to.
‘It doesn’t feel good, it really doesn’t. You feel terrible for them. You know exactly how they are feeling, especially when you’ve got to go over there and apologise, because they are in pain, usually bleeding, and then to hit her in the face – you don’t want to hit anybody in the face, especially not a woman, and it’s not a good feeling.’
The tee on the sixth hole had been moved forward to allow players to attempt to drive the green, but Koepka’s shot was pulled left into the crowd.
On television footage Koepka and other players can be heard shouting the traditional warning of ‘fore’, but he added: ‘You can yell fore, but it doesn’t matter.
‘If you’re 150 yards, you’re shouting fore, you can hear it. But from 300 yards, even if none of us said fore, she’s going to get hit, and that’s the unfortunate thing.’