Caddie takes on gator at Heritage

Published Apr. 13, 2012 1:00 a.m. EDT

It was one thing to have a difficult shot. It was another thing entirely to face a life-threatening situation. But fortunately, Brian Gay has a caddie, Kip Henley, who isn’t afraid to challenge an alligator.

“They won’t come at you when they’re turned the other way,” Henley said.

Ah, could he guarantee that?

“Well, no, I can’t guarantee it.”


Which probably explains why Gay kept his distance as he surveyed the situation in the hazard short and left of the 15th green at Harbour Town Golf Links in Thursday’s first round of the RBC Heritage. His ball buried in the mud, Gay was contemplating how to play his fourth shot when a 6-foot alligator seemed determined to hang around. Henley said they usually get out of the way quickly, but this one stayed, presumably, to protect a baby gator.

“I didn’t get near it,” Gay said.

Henley did, but not until grabbing a rake and getting some assistance from Scott Verplank’s caddie, Scott Tway.

“‘I’ve just never seen them not take off,” Henley said.

Finally, this one did, at least long enough for Gay to play what the caddie called “an incredible shot.” True, Gay moved it only 30 yards, “but it was completely buried; I mean, it was virtually unplayable.”

Gay wound up making bogey, which is the bad news. But he survived, which is the good news.