Death, Lies, and Golf Clubs


Anyone who follows golf has probably heard that pro golfer Tripp Isenhour (above) hit a golf shot that killed a hawk. Unlike a similar situation, when pro baseball player Dave Winfield killed a seagull, this one wasn’t an accident.

From an early report:

After the hawk moved within about 75 yards and perched in a tall pine tree, Isenhour allegedly said: “I’ll get him now” and aimed for the hawk.

“About the sixth ball came very near the bird’s head, and (Isenhour) was very excited that it was so close,” officer Brian Baine of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, wrote in a report.

According to witnesses, Isenhour hit the hawk a few shots later. The bird, protected as a migratory species, fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils.

Let’s recap: Isenhour said “I’ll get him now” and hit at the bird SIX TIMES.

After being charged for two misdemeanors, Isenhour was interviewed on the Golf Channel about the incident. As the Associated Press reported, Isenhour said of people’s reaction,

“That’s obviously people who don’t know very much about golf,” he said. “To say it’s a one-in-a-million shot for an accident like that to happen, you know, and when it did happen, I was very remorseful, very upset that it happened.”

After he remorsed all over himself, a GolfWeek story quoted him as asking people to “be respectful of my family’s privacy.” WTF?

I couldn’t care less about his alleged remorse or his family’s friggin’ privacy, but I’m interested that he tried to hit something SIX TIMES—and then after he hit it, he called it an “accident.”

Actually, that’s called a “lie.”

Here’s another sordid thing: no one is going to call him on it, because golf is a “gentleman’s game.” That’s why the Golf Channel had him come on to plead his remorsefulness. (The photo above is a screen capture from the interview.) Actually in the video he lies again, saying, “I was just trying to hit the tree.”

And if you don’t believe me that everyone’s going to work real hard to sweep this under the rug, consider that the Golf Channel interviewer actually wishes him good luck in the trial! The only bright spot is a good portion of the people who commented on the video clip on the GC site called BS the same way I am.

Having been a golf journalist, I can say from experience that there’s typically a dearth of actual news in golf. So let me clue you in: this is actual news: golfer commits a crime, and then lies about it.

But don’t worry. This story will get buried just as quickly as that poor bird. (Though it was actually later exhumed and preserved for possible evidence.)

Crazily, the only person to come close to having the right perspective is PGA Tour
executive vice president Ty Votaw: “hitting a golf ball at a living target is clearly inappropriate behavior.”

That’s putting it lightly.