Rory McIlroy fan "knocked out cold" as lightning struck 60-foot pine tree, injuring six at PGA Tour Championship. Miraculously no one was seriously injured
A County Tyrone man (19) was among six people injured during a lightning strike at the PGA Tour Championship, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ryan Murphy, from Cookstown, was attending the PGA Tour Championship, hoping to witness Rory McIlroy's victory when he was "knocked out cold" during the "freak" incident.
Murphy was among six golf fans taken to hospital after lightning struck a 60-foot pine tree, close to the 15th green at East Lake Golf Club. The force shattered the bark all the way down to the base of the tree.
Atlanta Police spokesman James H White III said five men and one female juvenile had sought shelter beneath the tree that was struck, the Irish Sun reported. While all six were taken to hospital for treatment none of their injuries were life-threatening.
The Irishman had been working at a children's summer camp, in Wisconsin, for the summer and was attending the PGA as part of a tour on his way home to Ireland. Speaking the BBC, Murphy's father, Terry said his son has been left "bruised and shaken" by the incident and "wants to come home."
Terry explained that both he and his son are members of the Killymoon Golf Club, in Cookstown, and his son has been texting him all day giving him a running commentary.
"I was asking what he was wearing to see if I could see him on the TV," he said.
Murphy texted his father to tell him that play had been suspended due to incoming storms. When the news broke about a lightning strike Terry said he knew something was wrong.
The teenager's family began to panic when they did not hear from him and began to call around to hospitals in the Atlanta region. While mother was speaking with a nurse in Atlanta, Murphy finally picked up his phone.
Terry said, "The first thing he said to me was 'Don't say anything to mummy'."
Murphy said he had been sheltering under a tree when the lightning struck. The next thing he remembers is waking up "yards away" with the emergency first-responders caring for him.
At the hospital, Murphy has scans to ensure there was no internal damage. By Sunday Murphy was back at his hotel and plans to fly home to Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Having already visited Chicago, en route from Wisconsin to Atlanta, he had planned to journey on to San Franciso and New York before coming home.
His trip will not be cut short but he will return to Northern Ireland to study structural engineering with architecture at Queen's University, Belfast.
Cyril Rafferty, the Manager of Killymoon Golf Club, said the members were in "shock" having heard the news.
He added, "He's a fine young golfer, we're just delighted to hear that he's okay."
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said it was "aware of the case" and was providing "consular assistance".
Here is ABC News' report on the incident:
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