Man vs. Beast

Mongooses take a liking to a golf ball at Nedbank Golf Challenge

November 14, 2019
Tommy Fleetwood
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The European Tour is in Sun City, South Africa (A+ name) this week for the Nedbank Golf Challenge. The tournament, held at the Gary Player Country Club, is an important one for a number of reasons—most notably, it’s the penultimate event in the Race to Dubai and it’s part of the lucrative Rolex Series. The winner this week will take home roughly $2.5 million(!).

If that’s not enough to get drum up your interest, maybe the priceless animal-human interactions we tend to see to see on Nedbank week will do the trick. Sun City is located about 115 miles northwest of Johannesburg, adjacent to the Pilanesberg National Park and game reserve. As you may have guessed, the area is teeming with wildlife. And said wildlife aren’t the least bit shy.

During Thursday’s opening round, Tommy Fleetwood posted a video of a tee shot that found the fairway. Two mongooses (it is indeed mongooses and not mongeese, by the way) took keen interest in the Callaway ball (Editors' Note: this is not a Fleetwood drive, just a video Fleetwood re-tweeted), and immediately rushed to apprehend.

For those curious, because the ball was still moving when the animals made contact, Rule 11.1 stipulates that you simply play the ball where it comes to rest. If the ball was stopped before the animals made contact, you would replace the ball. Thus, if the mongooses had picked up the moving ball and dropped it into the water, well … that’d be one of the more brutal ways to incur a penalty.

Louis Oosthuizen holds a three-shot lead in his home country after a nine-under 63 on Thursday. He’ll be hoping to avoid any run-ins with mongooses or baboons in the coming days.


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