Watch out for that water hazard! Alligator surprises pro golfers at PGA Championship


A true threat: An alligator made for an interesting water hazard on The Ocean Course in Kiawah, South Carolina

There was more than just a penalty stroke at stake for golfers who placed their ball in the water during a practice round at a North Carolina course in preparation for the PGA Championship.
A menacing alligator was spotted lurking in the waters at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island on Wednesday.
Davis Love III even took a moment to eye up his crocodilian competition.

You stay there: Davis Love III comes close to the lingering alligator during his practice round on Wednesday

The amphibious threats aren’t the only obstacles facing the world’s best golfers at this year’s PGA Championship, as The Ocean Course is one of the few top clubs to use paspalum grass on their course.
They switched to seashore paspalum grass in 2003 because of upkeep problems caused by its next-door neighbor, the Atlantic Ocean.
'Paspalum is a grass that I'm not sure we've ever played a (PGA) Tour event on before,' Luke Donald said this week.
The world's Number 1 player better adjust in a hurry.
For all the talk of super-sized titanium drivers and long putters, the biggest factor in the year's final major might just be who successfully figures out the seaside layout's paspalum fairways and greens.
Count Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, among those with an edge.
Not only did he successfully spell paspalum during Wednesday's media session, he often plays on the surface at the The Bear's Club in Florida.
'So it's actually quite nice,' he said.
Even better, McIlroy said, is that paspalum has more grip and lets him freely fire at pins without worrying he'll roll too far past.

Troubling: No one was harmed by the alligator on Wednesday's round but they will certainly be around again this weekend when the PGA Championship is held at the course
'It just really grabs the ball. So you can be aggressive with your chip shots and definitely (be) aggressive with your wedge shots, too,' he said.
The course was built by Pete Dye for the 1991 Ryder Cup, but the Bermuda grass used then - while superfast and responsible for one of the most dramatic cup matches in history - could not withstand the waves and ocean spray that continually carried salt water onto the course and leeched into the irrigation system.
A heartier grass was essential if The Ocean Course hoped to re-build its championship credentials and club officials settled on seashore paspalum, a grass that withstood ocean elements.
For those seeking the Wanamaker Trophy this week, all that matters is playing the paspalum in as few strokes as possible.

Keep an eye out: The alligators and the world's top golfers will undoubtedly have some run ins this weekend

Tiger Woods practiced at The Ocean Course on July 31, the day after about two inches of rain fell. While conditions were soft and squishy, the four-time PGA champion didn't wind up with many mud balls in the fairway. He also found the greens solid and able to hold.
'Having paspalum greens is different,' Woods said. 'I've only played on paspalum greens one time. But they drain great. They are going to be firm.'
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson says changing surfaces from course to course make it necessary to study a little agronomy along with your short game.
While the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club featured slick, glass-like greens, Simpson expects truer, slower rolls at The Ocean Course.

Looming dangers: In addition to the alligators, the Ocean Course uses a different type of grass than many other courses

'But at the same time, you can look too hard into it,' he said. 'So it's all a balance of trying to figure out the kind of in-between.'
Adam Scott, the British Open runner-up, said most professionals practice on courses with slower, paspalum greens and won't be that surprised by what they find on The Ocean Course.
'It's very consistent,' he said. 'So if you can adapt to it this week, there's no reason why you can't play well on it.'

source: dailymail