First, there was Nicklaus vs. Palmer. Then, age caught up to both golfers and their rivalry on the links came to an end.
Then, there was Tiger vs. Phil. Phil got kind of old, however, and Tiger had an, um, incident involving his SUV. So that came to a close.
Now, golf fans have a new rivalry to cheer about: Isaac Couling vs. an angry goose.
I’m sure many of you are wondering who Isaac Couling is and what the goose’s name is. The answer to these questions are simple: a) a teenage golfer who was playing in the Madison Tournament at Wolf Creek Golf Course in Adrian, Michigan this past weekend and b) geese don’t have names, nor do they golf.
However, they can attack golfers, especially if they’re disgruntled. And judging by photographic evidence taken from the tournament on Saturday, this goose didn’t seem particularly gruntled.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Couling — a student at Concord High School — was walking down the fairway when he apparently got too close to the goose’s nest.
The goose wasn’t having any of it, and what transpired was all caught on camera by Devon Pitts, the wife of an assistant coach for Blissfield High School:
“I take photos for recreation,” Pitts told PGA.com. “I give the photos to the school for the yearbook. For eight years I’ve been shooting photos as a hobby.”
These photos, however, were definitely the most unusual of the bunch.
“I’m not going to lie,” Pitts said. “I was laughing quite hard after the attack was over. Isaac spoke with me after the match. I showed him the pictures and we just laughed.”
Blissfield High School would later announce that Couling was all right, but “his pride was hurt.”
There is one lesson to take away here, which is the fact that nature does indeed fight back. While Rousseau might have imagined a utopia in which we returned entirely to nature, look what happened just on a golf course, which is a poor facsimile of nature. Another social contract theorist put it a great deal better: Hobbes noted that the life of man in such a condition would be “nasty, brutish and short.”
That kind of erudition is why the latter has a famous stuffed tiger named after him and the former is just name-checked by trust-fund philosophy majors who drive hastily restored Renaults because they love all things French. (This may be an overgeneralization, but you get the point.)
That said, while Pitts is amazed that her photos have gone viral, she wishes there had been a slightly different outcome.
“This is unbelievable the attention this is getting,” she said. “I wish Issac had hit a hole-in-one instead.”
I bet Isaac does, too.
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