Rory and pheasant GolfTales RJSmiley

The Birdie That No One Got

Pheasants seem to be everywhere. But when shows up during a Pro Golf event is becomes a big deal.

Golfers love to play golf! But, in addition to playing golf, we true golfers, love to watch golf on TV; especially the major championships. The summer of 2014, in the eyes of most golfers has been the best TV watching in years. Watching Bubba win his second Master’s, in that seemingly effortless fashion, gave golf fans a glimpse of what a great talent he truly is. We witnessed his jerky unorthodox swing, with a combination of brute power (even though he looks physically weak), hooks and cuts (both high and low) and magic touch (with both wedge and putter), prove that a birdie is never out of reach when Bubba has a club in his hand. Yes the Master’s course always produces birdies and Bubba snared his share to win.

At Pinehurst #2, a course that the USGA had set up where they expected even par to win, Martin Kaymer got arrested by the USGA cops for having more birdies than the legal limit. If he were caught by the Department of Natural Resources they would have confiscated his golf clubs, his golf cart and both Martin and his caddy would spend some time in jail. Truth is that Kaymer could have played 74 holes, two more holes than the rest of the field, and still won the U.S. Open Championship… that is how many birdies he had.

At the recently completed PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, Rory McElroy prevailed, though the last two groups were arrested for shooting birdies after sunset. The entire field had so many birdies at Valhalla that there will a “catch and release policy” on birdies for the next two seasons to allow a repopulation on the vulnerable golf course. The big birdie, an eagle on #10, and a birdie from the bunker on the 17th allowed Rory to waste a birdie on #18 and still win his fourth major championship. The fact that the TOUR pros are so good that even in soft conditions and 500 yard par-4s, birdies are still manageable.

But the birdie that got away from all the pros was the Irish version of the colorful ring-necked pheasant. That brave bird thumbed his pointed nose at Rory McElroy as he walked directly across the line of Rory’s putt. The Irish are known to be brazen, but that prairie peasant, a relative of dinosaurs, decked out in red, purple and gold, ignored golf etiquette and forced Rory to wait while he showed his stuff on world wide television. What a brave bird, Rory had already had two birdies prior to the 8th hole on the second day at Hoylake. Rory, the world’s next Tiger Woods, collected himself and jammed in that birdie putt, giving the finger to the colorful intruder on his stage.

Experiencing Mother Nature first hand on the golf course is one of the things that golfers learn to appreciate. The weather is always mentioned during a round of golf, a spotted fawn will stop play even on a busy day. In this golf writers mind, the pheasant who made Rory wait earned a spot in golf history.   

Check out this video of Rory and his feathered friend.

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