Golf fans are used to hearing curved putts described as ‘snaking.’ However, what they were less familiar with was the sight of the snake hanging from the end of the staff.
During the Wells Fargo Championships at Quail Hollow on Saturday, Rickie Fowler was on hand to give a safe demonstration.
Fowler was at the par-five seventh hole in his third round at the PGA Tour event in Charlotte, when his tee shot went into the water along the side of the fairway.
While looking for his ball, the American spotted a snake perched among the rocks. North Carolina is home to a variety of snake species, many of which inhabit the state’s Tar Heel waters. Commentary on the PGA Twitter posts undecided about what species of snake Fowler was handling, but it is thought a northern water snakea non-venomous species native to North America.
Tilting his wedge, Fowler gently hooked the snake to lift it from between the cracks in the rocks before it slid away. The fact that the 34-year-old is a longtime partner with Puma-Cobra makes it a fitting collaboration.
He eventually dropped a penalty but managed to save par, going three under 68 before repeating the scoreline on Sunday to finish 14th at eight under overall, 11 shots behind champion Wyndham Clark.
That lifted him three places to the world No. 50 ahead of the PGA Championship later in Oak Hill this month, where he will return to his first major career chase after three runner-up finishes.
Fowler hopes to avoid the fate that befell Richard Brand at last year’s event. The English golfer’s second half was derailed when a squirrel ran onto the course to stop his ball and roll it before dashing away.
For rubbing salt into the wound, Bland is not permitted to move his ball or replay his shot under US Golf Association rules.
Snakes and squirrels continues golf’s ever-growing saga of animal run-ins, with dogs, deer, and alligators all writing chapters in recent years.