Pat Carter owns 13 West Virginia Amateur titles.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pat Carter was in the wrong place at the wrong time.The insurance executive from Huntington said he was assaulted April 5 at a Willie Nelson concert at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.The 13-time West Virginia Amateur champion received a fractured orbital socket that has caused some vision impairment, forcing him to withdraw Sunday from the 80th West Virginia Open. The event runs Wednesday through Friday at the Parkersburg Country Club in Vienna."It was unfortunate,'' said Carter, who has never won the Open. "The guy got arrested. The guy thought I did something and it was the lady that sat next to me. I don't really want to go into any details about the case. It happened and now we're trying to get through it.''The orbital socket damage caused muscular damage to Carter's eye, which has resulted in blurred and degenerative vision."I had some entrapment with some of my eye muscles that's prohibiting the proper eye movement,'' he said. "I have to get the muscles free."There's nothing I could really do about it. I've got two different opinions and both of them say I need to have it right away. It's a risk to my permanent vision so I couldn't really put it off.''
Carter said he should be recovered in time to compete in the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour event, which is scheduled for July 1-8 on Old White TPC at The Greenbrier resort. He received an exemption by winning last year's State Amateur."That's why I have to get it taken care of this week,'' said Carter, who will be inducted into the West Virginia Golf Association Hall of Fame this fall. "I've got to heal for the Greenbrier Classic. I don't know the exact healing process.''Carter said if all goes well his vision should be restored. The surgery will be done some time this week in Lexington, Ky."They're hoping,'' he said. "You never know about surgery. As long as my eye starts to move properly with my other one it shouldn't be an issue.''
It's the second straight year Carter has missed the Open. A scheduling conflict kept him out of the 2012 event at Edgewood Country Club in Sissonville.Earlier Sunday, Carter tied for 36th in the 60th Sunnehanna Amateur at the par-70 Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown, Pa. He shot a 76 in the final round for a 290 total.Carter said the assault case is winding its way through the Cabell County judicial system. The first hearing was May 29 and now Carter must wait to see if the grand jury will render an indictment."That's not going to happen for another month or couple months,'' he said. "I'm just trying to get healed and get my vision back to where I can see properly.''
In addition to Carter, several other top golfers in the state won't be playing in the Open.Defending champion Jonathan Clark of Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane and Barry Evans, the pro at Berry Hills Country Club, will instead take part in the 46th PGA Professional National Championship June 23-26 at Sunriver Resort near Bend, Ore.It's the first time Clark, who is a two-time Open titlist, qualified for the PGA Professional National Championship while Evans won the event in 2002 at Valhalla in Lexington, Ky.Today the Open participants will have practice rounds throughout the day at the Parkersburg Country Club. There will be a past champions dinner at 7 p.m. to honor Larry Martin, the former Parkersburg Country Club pro and general manager who was instrumental in getting the Top Flite Junior Tour launched in the state as founder and director. Martin died of a heart attack last year at age 58.The West Virginia Golf Association announced on Monday that the 2014 West Virginia Open will be held at The Resort at Glade Springs on the Cobb Course in Daniels.
The event has been held at The Resort three previous times, in 2006, 1997 and 1987.David Bradshaw won the second of his six Open titles there in 2006 while John Ross won his first in 1997 and Harold Payne his second in 1987.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org