There are plenty enough things for golfers to concern themselves with while he or she is lining up a putt: speed, line, form, etc., so any distractions that take away from the focus needed to hole a putt are unwelcome.
An overly enthusiastic gallery that won’t quiet down is one good example. A yet unheard example as far as I can gather is what happened to Paul Casey on Friday on the 12th hole of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Playing in the pro-am event alongside US Olympic champ Michael Phelps, Casey was eyeing a 20-foot eagle putt when a canine intruder ambled on to the green and obviously unaware of appropriate golf etiquette, proceeded to scoop up Casey’s ball in his mouth.
Said the amusingly befuddled Englishman (via Golf.com):
It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever had happen on a golf course,” said Casey, who was playing at Kingsbarns. “I noticed the dog on the 12th tee and he sort of followed us down the fairway before taking a real liking to my golf ball.”
A spectator near the 13th hole’s tee box stopped the canine thief and the ball was returned to Casey. A rules official inspected the ball and allowed Casey to continue to use it.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, Casey two-putted from 20 feet for a birdie. But I am sure in his mind, he probably would have preferred an eagle, and if it hadn’t been for that mangy mutt, he might have drained his bid for it. Doggone it.