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Thursday May 24th, 2018 11:44AM

Golfer not seriously injured in crash that kills his driver

By The Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Professional golfer Bill Haas escaped serious injuries as a passenger in a Ferrari involved in a rollover crash in Los Angeles that killed his driver, officials said Wednesday.

The driver of a BMW involved in the collision was injured and actor Luke Wilson, driving a third vehicle clipped by the Ferrari, was not hurt.

The accident happened on a residential block in the wealthy Pacific Palisades neighborhood around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Los Angeles police Officer James Stoughton.

The Ferrari's driver, who died at the scene, was identified by coroner's officials as Mark William Gibello, 71, a resident of Pacific Palisades. Haas was staying with Gibello's family as he prepared to play this week in the Genesis Open at nearby Riviera Country Club, the golfer's manager Allen Hobbs said.

"While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and — more importantly — his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time," Hobbs said in a statement. The 35-year-old Haas will withdraw from the Genesis Open and return home to South Carolina to recuperate, he said.

Jay Haas, the golfer's father, told Golf Channel that his son has pain and swelling in one of his legs.

"Bill was very fortunate," he said.

Bill Harmon, the swing coach for Haas and a close friend of Gibello, said the two only met last Thursday. Harmon said Gibello was a member at Los Angeles Country Club and was instrumental in the private club getting the Walker Cup last year and the U.S. Open in 2023. Haas played at the club on Sunday.

"Mark was one of my best friends," Harmon said. "It's a great loss for me. I'm happy that Bill is fine. It's just a very, very sad story."

He said he was more concerned for Haas emotionally than physically.

"Even at the hospital, a friend of mine met him and said he was very distraught," Harmon said.

Police were investigating whether speed was a factor in the crash.

"It was a huge bang sound, just one huge crash," Linda Smith, who lives across the street, told KABC-TV. "There was no screeching that I heard of, or anything of that sort. It all happened very quickly."

The driver of the BMW, a 50-year-old woman, was hospitalized in serious condition, Stoughton said.

A message seeking comment was left for a representative for Wilson, star of films including "Legally Blonde," ''Idiocracy" and "The Royal Tenenbaums."

Haas is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour whose most prominent victory was at the Tour Championship in 2011, which enabled him to win the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus. His most famous shot was in a playoff at the Tour Championship, when his ball was partially submerged in a lake.

He comes from a prominent golfing family. His father won nine times on the PGA Tour and 18 times on the PGA Tour Champions. His uncle, Jerry Haas, briefly played on the PGA Tour and is the golf coach at Wake Forest. And his great uncle, Bob Goalby, won the 1968 Masters.

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Associated Press Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.

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Contact Weber at https://twitter.com/WeberCM .

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