There’s only one way to start an article about a golfer in Florida charged with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird after hitting the bird with a golf ball, and Sarah Lundy of the Orlando Sentinel aced it. So here is the top of her story on the Sentinel’s Web site:
“Pro golfer Tripp Isenhour took aim with his golf club and shot a birdie at Grand Cypress Golf Club. Well, it was actually a red-shouldered hawk with an annoying call.”
Isenhour, 39, was in the midst of his speaking part for an instructional video on Dec. 12 when, about 300 yards away, the hawk got so loud it disrupted filming at least twice, according to the story.
So, Isenhour did what any guy would do: he drove a golf cart over to the tree where the hawk was perched and hit golf balls toward the bird, Lundy reported.
The bird flew away, landed in a tree about 75 yards from the filming site, and Isenhour again started hitting golf balls toward the bird, Lundy wrote.
Only this time Isenhour did what most guys cannot do: he hit it. The bird fell 30 feet and died soon after, Lundy reported.
Now, I know what all of the golfers reading this are thinking, and the answer is no — I don’t know Isenhour’s club selection. But Isenhour could face up to a $10,000 fine for his shot, Lundy reported.
If I were Isenhour’s lawyer, I would launch what I have just dubbed the “Randy Johnson Defense,” named after the baseball pitcher who hit a bird during a 2001 spring training game.
Then again, Johnson’s incident was accidental and it appears Isenhour’s was premeditated. The golfer might have a tough time crying fowl in front of a judge or jury.
Click to hear the sound of a red-shouldered hawk.
DANNY JACOBS, Legal Affairs Writer