Sports Outside the Beltway

Pro golfer Arjun Atwal could face charges in street racing death

The illegal and fatal race took place in an Orlando Florida suburb Saturday.

One man was killed and a professional golfer could face charges after they crashed their high-priced sports cars in a fast-paced street race along a winding road near Windermere Saturday evening, authorities said.

John Noah Park, 48, died after his 2006 Mercedes-Benz coupe spun out of control going around a curve on County Road 535 (Winter Garden-Vineland Road) and crashed into a tree with such force that the car’s axle was flung into the upper branches.

Arjun Atwal, a Windermere member of the PGA Tour, raced Park in his 2006 BMW sedan, said Trooper Kim Miller, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman. He, too, lost control at the bend, but he spun out on the shoulder. Atwal, 33, was not injured.

The crash was still under investigation Saturday night, but Atwal could face criminal charges, Miller said.

“What they were doing, whether or not one was mad — we don’t know yet,” Miller said. “They were both old enough to know better.”

But troopers had “very good” witnesses who said the two were “engaged with each other.” The two cars, however, never touched.


But the fact that the men had the audacity to speed at roughly 100 mph along a road that winds through exclusive neighborhoods at 5:35 p.m. shows how pervasive the illegal — and dangerous — folly is, she said.


The stretch of C.R. 535 where Park died is a dark, open road, infamous for speeders, Miller said. She said, however, that there have been no recent complaints of racing.


Atwal, who is not scheduled to play in this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, is ranked 322nd on the PGA Tour money list this year with $25,346 in 2007 earnings. He has earned just more than $2 million in his 12-year career on the tour, not counting sponsorships.

He fell out of the top 125 in 2005, posting one top-10 finish in the 33 events he entered that year.

Born in Asansol, India, Atwal is the first native of India to qualify for the PGA Tour.

First what is it about the media not being able to fact check a story concerning pro golf. Erika Hobbs at The Orlando Sentinel is the latest example of complete stupidity by someone writing about the sport or those who play. A check of Atwal’s PGA Tour web pageshows three mistakes.

1- Atwal only began playing the PGA tour in 2004. He did not play the PGA tour for 12 years. He has played a splattering of PGA tour events dating back to the mid-90′s, but in 10 seperate years. Atwal didn’t get a tour card till the 2003 Q school.

2- That Atwal is 180th on the money list, not 336th.

3- Atwal lost his tour card after the 2006 not 2005 season. 2005 was the golfer’s best year, he lost a playoff to Phil Mickelson at the BellSouth Classic that year.

Back to what happened yesterday, Atwal could be finished playing golf in the US if he is ever convicted or pleads to guilty to any criminal charges. Immigration authorities will put him on an airplane back to India.

If Atwal was involved in this race, he was very dumb and foolish. Married men his age(33) usually have more common sense.

Personal note- Ironically this incident comes at the same time as my writing a story involving a illegal drag race that kills someone. See I write web fiction, mostly of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy variety, and have had 25 stories published since 2000.

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i cannot believe a mature player like atwal can be racing. he must have over sped, which witness see it as racing. it has to be a sheer coincident and an accident

Posted by Aparup Saikia | October 18, 2007 | 03:24 am | Permalink

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