Gator eyes Gooch at Zurich Classic
April 26, 2018
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
- Talor Gooch received free relief after his ball was surrounded by alligators. (Chris Graythen/Getty)
AVONDALE, La. – A congregation of alligators were eyeing off Talor Gooch as a snack during the opening round of the Zurich Classic on Thursday, forcing him to seek the rarely used free relief for a dangerous situation.
Gooch had just pushed his second shot on the closing par-5 18th hole at TPC Louisiana a touch, landing in a bunker near one of the many water hazards on the course.
But when he reached his ball there were three pretty ornery alligators just a few feet away.
Playing in the same group, Chesson Hadley managed to scare away two of the offenders with a bunker rake but one was having none of it.
“I like my life. I like it with all my limbs. So I stay away from those things,” Gooch said afterwards.
The Oklahoma State product called in PGA TOUR rules official Steve Carman to get a ruling and after Carman’s unsuccessful attempts to scare it away with a rake and a golf umbrella, Gooch was permitted to take relief.
He pulled his ball back 10 yards, still in the bunker, but with the gators ahead of him where he could at least see them.
“The third one was eating the rake basically, so we decided that we would not take the chance,” 27-year-old Gooch said.
“They weren’t happy with us… I’m sure we would have been fine but any little movement by them – no chance I could make solid contact.
“We went back in the bunker a little bit – unfortunately when you take a drop in the bunker you are going to get a terrible lie - but I chose life over a good lie in the bunker.”
For the record, he made a pretty decent par.
Gooch and partner Andrew Landry, who won the Valero Texas Open last week, combined for a 6-under 66 in Four-ball to open the tournament.
They sit six shots back of the lead heading into Friday’s alternate shot.