by Rob Joyce
It’s an icy relationship that’s as old as the sport in America itself. Golfers, especially in the southern part of the United States, play around water. Alligators live in and around said bodies of water. For the most part, both sides respect the other and keep a safe distance. But lately there have been more up close and personal interactions between the professionals and the gators on the PGA Tour.
In some instances so far in 2017 such instances (naturally) struck fear into the puny human, but surprisingly enough, not always.
He may be the world’s 212th-ranked golfer but he certainly tops the bravery (stupidity?) list, as he came up to a gator on the sixth hole at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. Instead of doing the normal human thing and avoiding it, he gave his newfound friend a little lovetap.
The day after Gribble’s high-five with the alligator, at the very same tournament, Kaufman had the exact opposite reaction, nearly jumping out of his shoes when he unexpectedly walked a little too closely to the reptile.
At last weekend’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans, Rickie Fowler felt that an alligator basking in the water was a little too close to his golf ball. While not as forward as Gribble, Fowler had no issues grabbing a bunker rake and sending the gator on its way.
Kelly Kraft & Andrew Beef:
At the same Zurich Classic as Fowler these two had very different reactions to a gator hanging out directly beside the fairway bunker in which both players found themselves. Kraft, a former US Amateur champion, couldn’t have cared less, getting about as close to the reptile as any golfer has since Happy Gilmore. Beef, on the other hand, took the time to grab a rules official to come and do his dirty work.
At the RBC Heritage, Poulter put his tee shot in the water on the 10th hole, leaving his drop location within a few yards of a gator in the water. As Poulter was lining up his shot he was clearly keeping an eye on his buddy, and when the gator moved in the water, the convoy came over to scare it off.