South Carolina

Gators steal spotlight at Heritage, again. 6 times Hilton Head gators were like ‘whatevs’

Who’s watching golf? No one, because there was an alligator

An alligator swam around for a bunch of spectators in a pond off of No. 10 during the final round of the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing on Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
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An alligator swam around for a bunch of spectators in a pond off of No. 10 during the final round of the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing on Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

It’s no secret that alligators on Hilton Head Island love to hang out on golf courses, and that doesn’t change just because the PGA Tour is in town.

As the weather warms up just in time for RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, the dinosaur-like creatures emerge at Harbour Town Golf Link year after year.

Sometimes the encounters can be scary — like some of the players learned last year — and other times, the animals are just relaxing and enjoying the view like the human spectators.

Either way, the game must go on.

Gator spottings from this weekend:

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Weekend golf with the family.

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This gator (and its babies) were spotted lying on the green near the 5th hole Friday. The mama gator probably heard Heritage was a family event and wanted to see for herself.

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Don’t turn around, @xanderschauffele …

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Another gator decided to play things a little more low key and not wander too far from the lagoon. The plan was ruined when it stole the spotlight from Xander Schauffele, who was putting nearby. All eyes, including the commentators’, were on this gator.

“Guys, does Xander know there’s an alligator behind him? I don’t think he sees it, but I saw it,” the commenter joked.

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#rbcheritage

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Late into the afternoon Saturday, another gator appeared close to where the action was taking place on the 10th hole.

A handful of people, including caddies, walked toward the alligator resting at the edge of the pond and made motions shooing it away until it backed into the water.

Other memorable gator encounters:

Caddies have a big job helping the players out. How people many can say they’ve warned off an alligator before, though? In 2012, caddie Kip Henley was carrying Brian Gay’s clubs when one of Gay’s shots landed next to a rather large gator.

Without hesitation, Henley grabbed a bunker rake and faced off with the gator until the beast retreated back into the water.

Note: Although Henley was successful, this is not what you typically want to do when you see a gator in the Lowcountry.

Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? #TOURVault

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In 2017, a caddie saved the day again.

A gator eyed Ian Poulter from the lagoon after he drove his shot into the water off the tee on the 10th hole. Poulter didn’t play his shot until Webb Simpson’s caddie, Paul Tesori, stepped in and shooed the gator away.

Note again: Seriously, don’t interact with an alligator if you see one. Leave them alone and keep a solid distance.

Last year, as Luke Donald stolled by the water near the 15th hole, he noticed a gator floating in front of him just off the bank and jumped sideways 90 degrees — very quickly.

He and his caddie kept their distance as they continued along the course.

“Ah the old s*** your pants sidestep move,” Donald posted on Twitter with the PGA Tour’s video of the encounter.

Have you seen an alligator at Heritage? If so, show us by sending a photo to lferguson@islandpacket.com.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college newspaper.


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