Kelly Kraft’s tee-shot strikes bird in mid-air misses cut, Friday the 13th effect?
Kelly Kraft, the 2011 U.S. Amateur winner will surely not forget the date and specially the way he missed the cut at the 50th RBC Heritage, at the Harbor Town Golf Links, South Carolina.
Kraft’s tee-shot hit the bird mid-air in a freak accident on the 192-yard par-3 14th and plop into the water hazard in front of the green.
The bird flew away.
Kraft went on to make double-bogey and tried his best to remain under-par when the cut-line was set at level-par 142.
“It cost me the cut, most likely,” Kraft said. “There was a helping wind, and I hit a 7-iron, caught it perfect. It was probably 30 yards off the tee box and this giant, blackbird swooped in front of it and hit it and the ball fell 20 yards short in the water. It would’ve been in the middle of the green. It might have been close. I got screwed.”
— Kelly Kraft (@kkraft11) April 13, 2018
Kraft did his best to battle back, making two birdies and just one bogey on his final 13 holes, but it wasn’t enough to make the cut, his sixth consecutive. He missed the cut by a stroke with a 1-over-72 on Friday.
When the incident happened Kraft and his playing partners Robert Garrigus and Michael Thompson went running to Mark Dusbabek, one of the PGA TOUR official and Garrigus asked, ‘His ball hit a bird in flight! That’s a cancel-and-replay, right?’”
It was not, the cancel-and-replay rule is invoked if a ball hits a permanent elevated power line, but not a bird.
“The big difference is a bird is a God-made object,” said Dillard Pruitt, another TOUR rules official on site. “Whereas a telephone wire is man-made. It’s just a stroke of bad luck. It doesn’t happen very often, but today is Friday the 13th. Freaky Friday.”
“It’s kind of a dumb rule that you can’t re-tee there,” Kraft said. “If you hit a power line, you can re-tee, and if a bird moves your ball while it’s resting you can replace it. But there’s nothing you can do about this. This has got to be more unusual than a hole-in-one. Two moving objects colliding? I mean you hit balls all day long on the range and you don’t hit another ball in the air.”
From the History books
Gary Woodland hit a bird at CIMB Classic last fall, which still helped him, as the ball landed on the green after hitting the bird.
Once a seagull plucked Brad Fabel’s ball off the green and dropped it in the water at THE PLAYERS Championship, he was allowed to replace it according to Rule 18-1. He was allowed because the ball was at rest.
“The difference there was the ball was at rest,” Pruitt said, “and this one you just don’t know where it would’ve gone. It could’ve gone in the water or it could have gone in the hole.”