The point of golf is to make birdies, not hit them.
Kelly Kraft knows that all too well. The Dallas-based pro saw his chances of making the cut at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town go to the birds on Friday.
Kelly’s 7-iron off the 14th tee hit a “giant black bird” and fell helplessly into the water hazard. The bird flew away, and Kraft called for a ruling, according to PGA Tour.com. He wanted to cancel the shot and take another. Instead, he had to play it from the drop area and finished with a double bogey.
As it turned out, Kraft finished the second round at 1-over par and missed the cut by one stroke.
“It cost me the cut, most likely,” Kraft said, per 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.”
Golf balls hitting birds are rare on the golf course, but it does happen on occasion. No one in the group knew the rule when Kraft’s ball hit the bird. Kraft went to a rules officials and asked if he could cancel-and-play. The cancel-and-play rule is for balls that hit a permanent, elevated powerline. A moving bird does not qualify.
“The big difference is a bird is a God-made object,” said Dillard Pruitt, a Tour rules official, to 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 strongly felt the ball was heading to the green and that the bird robbed him a chance at the cut. He also thinks the rule needs to change. If the ball was resting and a bird moved the ball, it can be replaced, per rule 18-1. Not in this case.
“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.”
Kraft does have a sense of humor, going on to his Twitter account to express his view.
— Kelly Kraft (@kkraft11) April 13, 2018
Hopefully, Kraft’s sense of humor carried over into the weekend as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gave a statement on the situation to USA TODAY on Saturday that burned Kraft pretty good.
“PETA is glad the bird is OK and sorry Kelly Kraft didn’t advance, but that’s not the bird’s fault,” PETA representative Lisa Lange said. “Of course, he would have advanced if he’d played better on other holes — so practice, practice, practice.”
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