The Hilton Head Island golf course where the PGA Tour stops each year is known by players to be a bit diabolical.
But the hazards aren’t limited to the large waste bunkers, many trees or Calibogue Sound. As the weather warms for the April golf tournament, the reptiles emerge at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Alligators have provided numerous unsettling — and often humorous — encounters with players throughout the years. They are home in the Hilton Head lagoons that make up the golf course design.
Golfers often have no choice but to play shots near where the creatures lurk, whether they realize the gators are there or not. Golf’s rules allow relief from a dangerous situation, but sometimes players and caddies take care of business on their own.
Here are three recent encounters that left players a bit shaken:
As Luke Donald strolled along the water near No. 15 green Thursday, he saw a gator floating in front of him just off the bank and jumped sideways 90 degrees. He and his caddie gave the gaor a wide berth as they continued walking.
“Ah the old s*** your pants sidestep move,” Donald posted on Twitter with the PGA Tour’s video of the encounter.
It wasn’t the first time on the course. Donald has dodged wildlife
Kip Henley, then a caddie for past Heritage champion Brian Gay, used a bunker rake to herd a large gator back into the water on No. 15 during the 2012 tournament. As the stubborn gator hung around near the bank, a fellow caddie came over to assist.
Henley, armed with past experience, while carrying the bag for Vijay Singh. braved a gator again in 2017
Englishman Ian Poulter drove it in the water off the tee on No. 10 during the 2017 Heritage. After taking a drop on the bank, a gator eyed the golfer from only feet away, refusing to move.
Poulter didn’t play his shot until playing partner Webb Simpson’s caddie stepped in to shoo the animal away.
Be safe out there.