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Golfer's tee shot hits bird in mid-air at PGA Tour event

Published: Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 2:26 AM

Kelly Kraft's tee shot on Friday hit a bird in mid-air during a PGA Tour event.
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Kelly Kraft's tee shot on Friday hit a bird in mid-air during a PGA Tour event.(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

This is not what Kelly Kraft had in mind when he wanted to shoot birdie.

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Playing at the RBC Heritage PGA Tour event at Harbour Town Golf Links on Friday, Kraft’s tee shot at the par-3 14th hole glanced off a “giant, black bird” and fell into the water in front of the green.

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The bird flew away, and so did Kraft’s chances of playing this weekend.

“It cost me the cut, most likely,” Kraft told PGATour.com. “There was a helping wind, and I hit a 7-iron, caught it perfect. It was probably 30 yards off the tee box and this giant, black bird swooped in front of it and hit it and the ball fell 20 yards short in the water. It would’ve been in the middle of the green. It might have been close. I got screwed.”

Hitting a bird on the golf course is a rarity, and Kraft called for a ruling from a Tour official. 

“Robert Garrigus (Kraft’s playing partner) came running up to me first,” said Mark Dusbabek, one of the Tour officials on site. “He said, ‘His ball hit a bird in flight! That’s a cancel-and-replay, right?’”

Wrong. The cancel-and-replay rule only applies when a ball hits a man-made object, like a power line, ESPN reported.

“The big difference is a bird is a God-made object,” Dillard Pruitt, another rules official, told PGATour.com. “Whereas a telephone wire is man-made. It’s just a stroke of bad luck. It doesn’t happen very often, but today is Friday the 13th. Freaky Friday.” 

Kraft was forced to take a double-bogey on the hole. He recovered slightly with birdies at No. 17 and No. 1, but bogeyed the seventh hole to finish at 1-over par 71. His two-round total of 143 meant Kraft missed the cut by one shot.

“It’s kind of a dumb rule that you can’t re-tee there,” Kraft said. “If you hit a power line, you can re-tee, and if a bird moves your ball while it’s resting you can replace it. But there’s nothing you can do about this.
“This has got to be more unusual than a hole-in-one. Two moving objects colliding? I mean you hit balls all day long on the range and you don’t hit another ball in the air.”