ESPN anchor Sage Steele is recovering after being struck in the face by an errant tee shot by Jon Rahm on the third hole of the PGA Championship on Thursday.
Golf writer Geoff Shackelford described an account from an eyewitness who “saw her on the ground, holding her nose, mouth or chin area,” with her hands “covered in blood.” A source told The Post she walked off under her own power.
Shackelford saw the Rahm shot — which traveled 281 yards at 181 mph, per the ESPN broadcast — go awry.
“I was standing behind the tee when Rahm hit a hard hook into the left trees. He immediately yelled ‘Fore Left!’ and aggressively waved his arm pointing left,” he wrote. “The impact must have been brutal: Rahm’s tee shot ended up in the center of the fairway.”
Steele was covering the major at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., for ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” She had concluded her work on the program for the day and was watching the tournament from the gallery of credentialed media. She was hospitalized after being struck with the ball.
There was no indication Rahm or his caddie realized what happened in real-time. The shot went so far off the fairway, it was not picked up by TV camera. The ESPN broadcast did not make any mention of Rahm’s drive hitting Steele. At least one social media account indicated that it was mentioned on SiriusXM’s coverage of the tournament.
Sources told The Post that Steele has traveled home to Connecticut and will not be back on ESPN’s coverage of the tournament this weekend.
An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
Steele, 49, has been with ESPN since 2007. She has hosted the Scripps National Spelling Bee, NBA Finals and “SportsCenter” coverage from the sites of the Super Bowl, World Series, College Football National Championship and The Masters.
Last month, Steele sued ESPN, alleging that she was retaliated against over comments she made about the company’s vaccine mandate on Jay Cutler’s podcast last September, violating both her contract and her right to free speech.
ESPN disputed her distinction that she had been suspended for her remarks and said that she remained a valuable on-air contributor to the network. The lawsuit suit said the company used the words “sidelined” and “taking a break” to describe her on-air absence and refers to these words as “euphemisms” for a suspension.