Golf fans are accustomed to hearing a curling putt described as ‘snaking.’ What they are less familiar with, though, is the sight of a snake dangling off the end of a club.
During the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow on Saturday, Rickie Fowler was on hand to provide a safe demonstration.
Fowler was on the par-five seventh hole of his third round at the PGA Tour event in Charlotte, when his tee shot went careening right towards the waters along the side of the fairway.
While searching for his ball, the American spotted a snake settled amongst some rocks. North Carolina is home to a range of snake species, many of which inhabit the waters of the Tar Heel state. Comments on the PGA’s Twitter post wavered on what species of snake Fowler handled, but it is thought to be a northern watersnake, a nonvenomous species native to North America.
Angling his wedge, Fowler gently hooked the snake to lift it out from between a gap in the rocks before it slithered away. The fact that the 34-year-old is a long-time partner with Puma-Cobra made it a fitting collaboration.
He eventually took a penalty drop but managed to save par, carding a three-under 68 before repeating the score on Sunday to finish tied for 14th at eight-under overall, 11 shots behind champion Wyndham Clark.
It lifts him three places to world No. 50 ahead of the PGA Championship later at Oak Hill this month, where he will again chase a first career major after three runner-up finishes.
Fowler will be hoping to avoid the fate that befell Richard Brand at last year’s event. The English golfer’s second round was derailed when a squirrel raced onto the green to stop his ball and roll it around before scampering away.
To rub salt into the wounds, Bland was not allowed to move his ball or replay his shot under US Golf Association rulings.
Snakes and squirrels have continued golf’s ever growing story of animal run-ins, with dogs, deer, and alligators all penning chapters in recent years.