Woods’ tee shot sailed over the green and landed near where Brian Borruso and other spectators were watching.
The 46-year-old Bayonet Point resident then tried to take a selfie with Woods in the background. That’s when Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, shoved Borruso, “causing him to stumble and fall into the crowd of spectators,” according to the lawsuit.
Borruso reported the incident to law enforcement that day. He told the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office that he went to the emergency room because of back pain and muscle spasms, according to a 2018 incident report.
One of the tournament’s security officials told authorities that he saw LaCava “used his forearm to guide” a man back into the crowd to give Woods enough room to hit the ball but that it wasn’t a shove or push. If the security official had seen someone fall to the ground, he told authorities, he would have checked on him. Borruso watched the tournament for another hour after the incident, according to the 2018 report.
Borruso is seeking more than $30,000 in damages. He is represented by Josh Drechsel of St. Petersburg’s Josh Firm.
“Regardless of celebrity status, no one has the right to violate the well-known safety rule of keeping your hands to yourself,” Drechsel said in a statement. “It’s not right for anyone to do that, and we believe there is evidence out there that will help prove our case.”
Drechsel is still seeking more of that evidence, including any video of the incident. He wrote that the PGA has “refused to cooperate” in their investigation, so he’s asking members of the public to email email@example.com with more information.
The suit accuses LaCava of negligence, culpable negligence and battery. The complaints against Woods center on negligence and respondeat superior —employer liability for the actions of his caddie.
Woods’ arrival for that PGA Tour event was one of the biggest golf events in the history of Tampa Bay. The 15-time major winner hadn’t played at Innisbrook in 22 years, before he became a household name and one of the biggest sports stars in the world.
Woods finished second at the Valspar, missing a 37-foot putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff with Paul Casey.