The U.S. Golf Association rules are clear, and they pertain to squirrels. Not directly, of course. The golfer gets stuck playing it “where it lies,” no matter what the interference. That mattered to Richard Bland on Saturday. He’s chuckling over it and glad it wasn’t worse. The animal rights activists would have been all over him if his ball had injured the critter.
Golf rules are clear
Southern Hills Country Club is known for a fair supply of hazards. Besides “treacherous greens, long rough, and changing conditions,” players on the PGA Championship tour have to fend off the local wildlife. Richard Bland wasn’t having one of his best days on the golf course to start with.
He was whacking his way through the second round on Friday when he got the surprise of his career.
The British golf celebrity simply had to post the video which a fan had captured of the event. He took the incident in stride with a dash of humor.
“You know it’s not going to be your week when you play a good recovery shot from under the trees & this little fella gets in the way.” A squirrel stole the show. “To top it off. The ball rolls back off the green & don’t get up & down #sumstheweekup”
The video clearly shows the frisky mammal frolicking on the green as Bland’s ball lands nearby, rolling his way. Obviously the golf ball was an irresistible toy for the squirrel. He stops it and plays with it before scampering off for something more edible.
Bland, meanwhile was left with no alternatives. He couldn’t move it anywhere or replay the shot. That hurts.
Rules are Rules and every PGA player knows them by heart.
For time out of mind, the Golf Association has been ruling that “when your ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped, there is no penalty and you will normally play the ball from wherever it lies. This includes when your ball accidentally strikes your body or your equipment.” So there.
You know it’s not going to be your week when you play a good recovery shot from under the trees & this little fella gets in the way 🐿😄 To top it off. The ball rolls back off the green & don’t get up & down 🤷🏻♂️😄 #sumstheweekup pic.twitter.com/fL5BASuJI9
— Richard Bland (@blandy73) May 21, 2022
Didn’t change the outcome
While Bland was obviously disappointed that his beautifully executed recovery shot encountered an unforeseen wildlife hazard in such close vicinity to the cup, it wouldn’t have affected his standings in the golf tournament.
He had a bad day in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On his first round at the Southern Hills Country Club he tallied 74 strokes.
During his second round at the exclusive golf resort, after dealing with the unexpected rodent along the way, his final score was 76.
While two points higher than his first round, it was still averaged out at 10 over par for the match and not nearly good enough to make the cut, He didn’t proceed to the next round but those extra two strokes didn’t do him in.
Things like this are actually fairly frequent occurrences on the golf links. Squirrels often carry the ball away completely. Alligators are another frequent and dangerous hazard.
Another common interference comes from birds. They peck and roll the balls around, maybe thinking they’re eggs that can be eaten. They have even been known to fly away with them.