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Updated: 9:26 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 | Posted: 9:26 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

Florida golfer attacks playing partners with putter, police say

“He went berserk. He . . . starts stomping on the hole yelling ‘I’m stepping in your line!’ ”

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Florida golfer attacks playing partners with putter, police say

By Linda Santacruz

Palm Beach Post

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —

A relaxing day of golf turned violent when a Florida man became agitated and attacked two playing partners with his putter Monday.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Michael Rich, 48, of Royal Palm Beach, is in jail facing two counts of aggravated battery after he hit Roy Hall on the back of Hall’s leg with his putter and then, swinging the broken putter like a sword, struck Anthony Nazzaro, 72, on the wrist, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report.

Nazzaro said he didn’t know Rich, who was placed in his foursome because of the high volume of golfers at Madison Green Golf Club on Labor Day, and that problems began on the seventh hole when Rich began hitting bad shots.

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According to Nazzaro, while Rich was lining up his putt, he turned to Nazzaro and asked “why don’t you mark your ball?” Nazzaro responded that he wasn’t aware the putt “was worth $400,000.”

Nazzaro said Rich lost it and began yelling, stomping on the ground and digging up the green.

“He went berserk,” Nazzaro said. “He runs up to me and starts stomping on the hole yelling ‘I’m stepping in your line!’ I said ‘Hey, calm down. You’re messing up the golf course.’ ”

The two men tried to calm Rich down when Rich suddenly swung his putter at Hall, striking the back of Hall’s leg and breaking the head off the club’s shaft.

Nazzaro said he then tried to call the pro shop but Rich knocked the phone out of his hand when Nazzaro hit him on his wrist with the broken putter.

“He has this sword and is running around the green yelling, ‘I’m going to stick this in your eye!’ ” Nazzaro remembers.

Nazzaro said Rich took off when he reached for his phone again.

Deputies observed a large laceration on Nazzaro’s left wrist and spoke with a witness who recounted Nazzaro’s story, according to an arrest report.

Rich told deputies Hall ran up to him and pushed him with a golf club. He said he swung at the men because he wanted them to get away.

Nazzaro said deputies asked him if he thought the man should get arrested.

“The last thing I want to see is someone getting arrested,” Nazzaro said he told deputies. “But you have to take this guy someplace, because there is something wrong with him.”

Deputies found Rich as the primary aggressor and arrested him.

Nazzaro said Rich refused to shake his hand at the beginning of the round.

“Basically when you go golfing, you shake hands, you talk,” Nazzaro said. “He wasn’t part of the group at all. He was a loner.”

Nazzaro said he continued trying to be social by complimenting Rich on some of his shots, but Rich was not in the mood to be social.

“It was an unfortunate incident,” said Mark Rodgers, head professional at the club. “This is golf. You would think people would be a little more controlled, but this guy was out of control.”