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April 13 2012

5:20 PM

Henley: ‘I didn’t see any other option’

Caddie scares off gator

Caddie Kip Henley earns his keep scaring off an alligator near Brian Gay’s ball on the par-5 15th hole.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Kip Henley: full-time caddie, part-time alligator chaser.

During the opening round of the RBC Heritage, Henley used a rake to shoo away a 10-foot alligator from the ball of his boss Brian Gay on the 15th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links.

“I didn’t see any other option,” Henley said Friday. “We had to get him out of there.”

It wasn’t the first time.

Just three weeks ago at the Transitions Championship, Henley grabbed one by the tail -- though that episode was not captured by television cameras, nor was the gator as large. Henley, who grew up in Tennessee and still lives there, estimates that he’s grabbed about five gators by the tail.

“I’m not afraid of them if they’re facing away from you,” he said. “They won’t snap back around at you. If they can get in the water they’ll take off. This was the most stubborn one I’ve ever seen. I thought it might be a bad time with the cameras on me for him to snap around and actually get me.”

Gay, who missed the cut, joked he might not have minded if it did.

“I didn’t want to see him get hurt, but I was hoping he would so he wouldn’t do it again,” Gay said. “What have you got to gain?”

In this case, not much. Gay went on to bogey the hole.

“I went down there to have a look,” said Tim Clark, who was playing alongside Gay. “But yea, it wasn’t my shot so I didn’t need to try to get rid of him.”

At least one member of the group wasn’t surprised by Henley’s exploits.

“I felt sorry for that gator,” said veteran caddie Keith Nolan. “I’ve seen him in action. I’m surprised he didn’t turn him into a belt or a pair of shoes.”

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