Kelly Kraft hits bird mid-shot, makes unlucky double bogey to miss cut

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Kelly Kraft hits bird mid-shot, makes unlucky double bogey to miss cut

PGA Tour

Kelly Kraft hits bird mid-shot, makes unlucky double bogey to miss cut

There likely won’t be a weirder missed cut story from the 2018 RBC Heritage than Kelly Kraft’s.

Rounds of 71 and 72 have Kraft at 1 over through 36 holes, and it’s only a matter of hours before he officially misses the cut. He sits in a tie for 78th right now, and there is virtually no chance the number moves from Even par to 1 over.

Thus, an early exit. But Kraft is justified in feeling that bad fortune, not poor play, cost him a weekend spot.

Per the PGA Tour’s Cameron Morfit, Kraft came to Harbour Town’s par-3 14th (his fifth of the second round) Even par for the tournament. He took out a 7-iron on the dangerous hole, where water fronts the green.

Kraft felt he caught it perfect, and then … remarkably, a giant, black bird flew into the picture and Kraft’s ball glanced off it. Here’s how Kraft described what happened next:

“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,” Kraft told PGATour.com. “It would’ve been in the middle of the green. It might have been close. I got screwed.”

Normally, a golfer saying he/she got screwed might be an overreaction in the moment. But in this case, how else could you describe that awful break that ended up leading to double bogey?

Kraft, 29, was confused at what to do next. The group called over a rules official and asked if Kraft was allowed a cancel-and-replay on the shot considering the circumstances. But the rules don’t allow for that.

“The big difference is a bird is a God-made object,” PGA Tour rules official Dillard Pruitt told Morfit. “Whereas a telephone wire is man-made (and thus cancel-and-replay would apply). It’s just a stroke of bad luck. It doesn’t happen very often, but today is Friday the 13th. Freaky Friday.”

That’s rough, Kelly.

Kraft would go on to regroup pretty well, playing his final 13 holes in 1 under. But take away that bird hit, and he likely makes par at 14 rather than double bogey. That puts him in the clubhouse at 1 under and safely onto the weekend.

Then again, we don’t know how Kraft would’ve played if he had made par vs. double bogey. Maybe the bad break angered him enough to play better golf thereafter. Who knows.

All we can say is that this was certainly a bad break. And Kraft is actually not alone in the bird department.

A bird interfering with play in a PGA Tour event is rare, but not unheard of. Other PGA Tour players have hit birds mid-flight in competition, with Jimmy Walker and Gary Woodland among recent examples.

There was also the time that a seagull picked up Brad Fabel’s ball on the green at the island 17th and dropped it in the water during the 1998 Players Championship. As the ball was at rest when interfered with, Fabel was allowed to replace it in the original spot with no penalty.

But all of those were pretty harmless moments.

In Kraft’s case, this may’ve meant the difference between the weekend and going home early.

Maybe in time he’ll laugh about this experience, but at the moment he’s understandably not thrilled.

“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.”

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