Former UCLA golfer Steve Pate suffered bruises to his ribs Wednesday night when a caravan of limousines taking him and some other members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team to a dinner in Charleston collided in a three-car accident. No other players were injured.
Pate and Shannon Pavin, wife of former UCLA and Ryder Cup player Corey Pavin, were taken to Bon Secours St. Francis Xavier Hospital in Charleston. Shannon Pavin was treated for an elbow injury and released immediately. But Pate, who is one of 12 players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that begins play Friday, received extensive treatment for rib bruises in the emergency room and was released at 11 p.m.
Jim Awtrey, executive director of the PGA, told hospital officials that Pate’s treatment was precautionary. Awtrey has scheduled a news conference for this morning.
If Pate is unable to play, it is not known whether U.S. team Captain Dave Stockton will replace him. Tim Simpson is the first alternate.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Stockton said. “Off the top of my head, and I probably shouldn’t be saying this now, I’ll probably stay with what we have. We’re a team. I think I’d rather go with 11 than add somebody now.”
Stockton told the Associated Press he had expected Pate to play a major role in the competition.
“I had him penciled in to play (the maximum) five matches,” Stockton said. “It will involve a lot of juggling. It could be that he will be available on Sunday” for the closing 12 singles matches. “But I probably won’t have him until then.”
Teammate Lanny Wadkins wasn’t optimistic that Pate could play, even by Sunday.
“Even if it’s just bruises to the ribs, can you imagine how that’s going to hurt, trying to make a golf swing for the next couple of days?
“The shame of it is that Pate was playing beautifully. I played with him today. He didn’t miss a shot. He shot either 65 or 66 and could have shot 60.”
Pate, 30, is one of three rookies on this team, and he has been playing well since the team began practice rounds Tuesday on the Ocean Course, where the competition will be held. He has been playing with Pavin, Wadkins and Hale Irwin.
Pate, who was born in Ventura and resides in Orlando, Fla., qualified in the last spot on the team by a system that awards points based on PGA tournament finishes. He also came close to qualifying for the 1989 team but missed the cut after failing to make a point in the final four months.
According to PGA officials, the accident involved a caravan of limousines that was bringing members of the American team from Kiawah Island to Charleston, a trip of 25 miles on a two-lane road.
About five miles south of Charleston, officials said a police vehicle with its lights off moved into the caravan in front of the police escort car. The escort car braked, which set off a three-car collision.