Fight over golf ball leaves man unable to speak

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13 2013 4:35 p.m. MDT

Wayne Magalogo, 65, shows where he was punched in the face after he picked up what he thought was an errant ball on the green July 2, 2013, in West Jordan. A couple of weeks later, he went to the hospital and was told he had bleeding on the brain. Surgery fixed the problem, but he is now unable to speak and struggles with basic motor skills.

Sam Penrod, Deseret News

WEST JORDAN — The family of a 65-year-old man says he was assaulted on a golf course, punched in the head because he picked up what he thought was an errant ball on the green.

Wayne Magalogo, 65, was golfing Mountain View Golf Course on July 2 when his family says he was attacked. It was a couple of weeks before he started having such painful headaches that he went to see a doctor. It was discovered he had bleeding on the brain.

Magalogo has been out of the hospital for just a few days. He struggles with basic motor skills and has lost his ability to speak.

On July 2, Magalogo was golfing with his father and putting on the third hole when a ball landed on the green, his family said. He picked it up, and the golfer who had hit the ball got angry, punched him and then left, according to family members. Magalogo and his father continued playing.

Magalogo didn’t think anything of the attack until he started getting major headaches. He went to see a doctor and had surgery to stop bleeding in his brain, his family said. He spent more than a week in the hospital recovering. He still has headaches and has to take medication for the pain, family members said.

Magalogo's son Owen said there was no reason for the attack.

“It’s just a sport,” Owen Magalogo said. “Some people take it too far. They get angry just because it doesn’t go their way, but they can’t have everything go their way in life.”

He said the family wants the man who punched his father to answer for what he did.

“The biggest thing is just to find the guy and get some justice,” Owen Magalogo said.

The family didn’t make a connection with Wayne Magalogo’s injuries and the altercation until a few weeks after the incident, and that’s when they called West Jordan police.

“The time lapse between the incident and when we received the first report was three weeks,” West Jordan Police Sgt. Dan Roberts said.

There were more than 200 people on the course that day, police say, and single and double golfers didn’t need to give their name for a tee time. Even with little to go on, detectives are hoping for tips about the alleged assault.

“It just underscores the importance of maintaining your self control and not lashing out at people,” Roberts said. “You never know what they are capable of or susceptible to, and what might appear as a minor altercation can turn into a life-or-death struggle.”

That is what worries Wayne Magalogo’s family, not knowing if he will ever be the same or if the man they say hurt him will ever have to answer for it.

“It’s just sad,” Owen Magalogo said. “I really don’t know just why someone would stoop to that level, just to punch him over a sport. I don’t understand why it had to come to that.”

Police have a very vague description of the man who allegedly punched Magalogo. They say he in his late 20s to early 30s. Anyone with information is asked to call 801-840-4000.

Contributing: Peter Samore

Email: spenrod@deseretnews.com

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