I truly wish video existed of this event: Kelly Kraft narrowly missed the cut at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina Friday after his tee shot at the par-3 14th hit a bird mid-flight and dropped directly into a water hazard. Per the PGA’s website:
“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, black bird 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.”
It seems like Rule 19 of the USGA rulebook deals with what happens when a ball in motion is deflected in just this way, but that’s dense reading, and anyway according to a rules official on the scene, a bird-strike does not qualify for a replay:
“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.”
Since all I can think about now is a tee shot smiting a bird in flight, here is video of just such an occurrence. It isn’t the bird strike, but it is certainly a bird strike:
Kraft finished his round with a 72. You will be happy to learn that the gigantic bird apparently flew away unharmed.