In an effort to save par we've all doffed a shoe or two to hit the impossible shot out of the water. Last year Henrik Stenson famously took it to the next level when he stripped down to his boxer briefs at the WGC-CA Championships. Last Saturday Jeff Gibson doffed nothing (not even his glove) and he wasn't in the water off the back of the sixth tee of The Links at Lighthouse Sound
in Bishopville, Maryland to save par -- Gibson was saving a whale.
Gibson, from Berkeley Heights, NJ, was playing in a church group outing with 11 friends. One friend was Ashley Cooper, of Summit, NJ. "There was a 30-mph wind and we were playing the back tees, like idiots," says Cooper. "I looked down off the back of the sixth tee and saw what looked like the fin on the bottom of a surfboard. I started to call 9-1-1, Jeff jumped down and started helping the whale."
Cooper says they could see three other fins in the water, circling in the distance as though they were waiting for their friend. "It was like Free Willy," he says. "I can't make this stuff up."
After about 10 minutes, Cooper says Gibson's efforts were successful. The Gervais' beaked whale, which are extremely rare and get as big as 17-feet, was badly cut up from his struggles on the beach, but swam back to his friends in the Assawoman Bay.
"Jeff climbed out of the freezing water to wild applause," says Cooper, "and then he stepped to the tee and ripped a 280-yard drive in soaking wet clothes and golf shoes."
As for the course? I got Cooper's review of the 4.5-star Arthur Hills design (2000): "It's gorgeous. It's built on 1,000 acres and there's a 1/4 mile bridge over wetlands. I'm a golf snob, but this is real good."
"I'm going to St. Andrews next week and I'm sure I'll come back with some golf stories," says Cooper. "But none as good as this one. This is the best golf story of my life."
Here's a picture of a Gervais' beaked whale: