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Court says golfers aren't required to yell 'fore!'

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MELVILLE, N.Y. - Yelling "fore!" may be traditional golf etiquette, but it's not required by law, a New York appeals court has ruled.

Dr. Azad Anand, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., lost sight in one eye when his buddy shanked a shot during a 2002 round at a Dix Hills golf course.

But Anand is not entitled to damages, even though his friend, Dr. Anoop Kapoor of Huntington Station, N.Y., failed to scream "fore!" when he launched the shot that struck Anand in the eye, the state appellate court in Brooklyn said.

The court's ruling said getting hit by an errant ball is an "inherent risk of the game of golf."

Anand was injured at Dix Hills Country Club on Oct. 19, 2002, after he, Kapoor and a third man, Balram Verma, teed off from the first hole of the nine-hole course.

Kapoor's second shot went into the rough. As Anand and Verma stood on the fairway, Kapoor launched his third shot, which veered right and struck Anand's left eye.

Anand testified in a deposition Kapoor never shouted "fore," a Scottish term for "before" or "afore" that means "look out ahead," according to the United States Golf Association's Web site. Kapoor said he shouted a warning when he saw where the ball was going, but Anand and Verma said they never heard it.

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While prior rulings have held that there is a duty to issue a warning when other golfers are in the expected path of a ball, the court noted that Kapoor's shot was so off target that he couldn't have expected to hit Anand.

Attempts to reach Kapoor, Anand and their attorneys were unsuccessful Tuesday.

The court, which ruled 3-1 in favor of Kapoor, expressed sympathy for Anand. And a golf expert testified that yelling "Fore!" is part of the "universally recognized" golf code of conduct - but only when others are in the likely path of the ball.

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