Throughout the course of a round of golf, there are many places players don't want to hit the ball. Water hazards, bunkers, and adjacent fairways are easily among the most undesirable locations for the golf ball to end up.
A carnivorous reptile should be at the top of any player's list.
Gay found himself in this very situation. But he had his man on the bag, Kip Henley, step in and avert a potential disaster. Henley grabbed a plastic bunker rake and prodded the animal persistently with the garden tool and finally coaxed it to get back into the water. Gay would go on to bogey the hole, and there would be no catastrophe.
Alligators are common in the southeastern United States, especially on golf courses.
So it should be no surprise that the Rules of Golf actually make allowances for free relief under such dangerous circumstances. Shockingly, the rules official denied the player free relief, which would have allowed Gay to move his ball farther from the hole and to the nearest point away from the danger.
In Friday's second round, the same alligator made news again, and was basking in the South Carolina sun. As if putting for thousands of dollars wasn't pressure enough, imagine doing so with a reptile with flesh-eating capability within eyesight, as Brandt Snedeker had to do on Friday.
Two things about this story are incredible - Henley used a plastic rake to shoo the alligator, and the rules official somehow didn't deem the situation dangerous enough to give Gay relief. Fortunately, there has yet to be another close encounter as the alligator continues to lurk on the par-5 15th hole of the Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head.
I'm just glad I play most of my golf in southern California.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and PGA professional. Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets
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