Every now and then golf comes to an abrupt halt when an animal or alligator becomes an unwanted part of the scenery and last week in Mexico we saw Erik van Rooyen's approach shot derailed by a swarm of bees.
The South African was all set to play a 4-iron into the 10th at Vidanta Vallarta when he suddenly hit the deck. He shouted 'Bees!' several times and, pretty quickly, his playing partners, Francesco Molinari and Chez Reavie, and their caddies quickly caught on, soon to be followed by the camera team.
The moment soon passed as the bees quickly played through, van Rooyen made a solid par and he would pick up two more birdies and an eagle to post a 64.
For van Rooyen this wasn't a first as he quickly refocused to continue his recent run of form.
“One time,” he said. “I can’t recall where exactly, but it was on a golf course in South Africa and something like I’m over the ball and then you hear like a ‘zzzzz,’ which is the sound that bees make. I look up and they’re there and the same thing happened.
“I was over the ball with a 4-iron, look back and I just saw them here and I just told my caddie, I’m like, ‘Bees, bees, bees,’ and he looks at me like I’m crazy. So I dropped down, then he sees them, he dropped down. Frankie and Chez, they look at me like I’m nuts and then they realized, like 30 seconds later, the bees just went right at them. It’s funny, but certainly don’t want to get stung by those bad boys.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Beware of bees 🐝😂 <a href="https://twitter.com/MexicoOpenGolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MexicoOpenGolf</a> <a href="https://t.co/reDNxP7VfH">pic.twitter.com/reDNxP7VfH</a></p>— Golf on CBS ⛳ (@GolfonCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/GolfonCBS/status/1651699313016295424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 27, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
For on-course analyst Billy Ray Brown it was a first..
“I’ve been out doing this, on this Tour, for 30-plus years, and I’ve never seen anything like that, anywhere. Oh my goodness. Guys, I’m lucky — I’m about 150 yards away.”
Van Rooyen could have actually got some relief, under Rule 16.2, not that it mattered in the end.
“A ‘dangerous animal condition’ exists when a dangerous animal (such as poisonous snakes, stinging bees, alligators, fire ants or bears) near a ball could cause serious physical injury to the player if he or she had to play the ball as it lies. A player may take relief under Rule 16.2b from interference by a dangerous animal condition no matter where his or her ball is on the course, except that relief is not allowed."
Eight years ago Spain's Pablo Larrazabal nearly died when he got caught in a hornet attack in Malaysia.
“I was on the 5th green and unlucky to be in the middle of, you know, the flight of one of them. The bad thing of those hornets is that if they feel scared, they spray you a pheromone that they attract the other ones. So this little thing, sprayed the pheromone on my hat, and was quite lucky there," said Larrazabal who saved himself a lot of pain by jumping in the lake.
“The pheromones just touched my head behind here, and they sting 20 times, 20‑something times on my head just back here. If I didn’t have a hat, I would be dead. If I would be allergic, I would be dead. You know, it was unlucky, but I was very, very lucky to be here."