1991 U.S. Open – Hazeltine National Golf Course, just outside Minneapolis, MN. A peaceful, calm day.
Gray clouds rush swiftly overhead within minutes. Lightning is spotted; a golfer’s worst nightmare. Storm sirens soon blast as a fierce thunderstorm blows in, threatening the safety of one of the largest single-day crowds in the history of professional golf.
Forty thousand spectators scramble for cover. A group of spectators seek shelter under a thirty-foot willow tree near the eleventh tee to keep from getting drenched. An official asks them to find another spot elsewhere. Some flee some stay.
Lightning strikes a tree behind the tenth green, splitting the trunk in half, stripping the bark like a peeled banana. Then a minute later-—BOOM!-—another lightning bolt strikes. This time it is the tall willow tree. A dozen bodies topple like bowling pins. The noise sounds like a M-80 firecracker exploding. Six men got up. Six remained dazed on the ground. One died with his hands still in his pockets. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the tallest tree drew the fire.
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