The term hazard on a golf course has taken on another meaning for 75 year old Albert Miller. Miller, who was playing at Lake Ashton Golf and Country Club in West Lake, FL had a chance encounter with an inhabitant of the course. That inhabitant was not a neighbor whose home he errantly hit, it was a 9 foot alligator (and that is not a typo, 9 feet is correct). According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, trappers eventually caught the animal and estimated its weight at 190 pounds.
According to the account first reported by The Ledger, Miller was attempting to find his ball near a pond on the course when the enormous reptile grabbed a hold of his leg, only after he had turned his back. If that wasn’t bad enough, the gator decided it did not feel like letting go, and attempted to pull Miller back into the lake. Apparently, the man’s friends acted quickly and began a match of tug of war with the gator in an effort to keep their friend from behind pulled to his death.
As the animal was pulling Miller, the miracle that he had been praying for throughout the entirety of the ordeal came true. “He let me go,” Miller said. “I was three feet from my life. He had me submerged up to my belt buckle. That was my miracle of the month.” Once he was let go, Miller’s friends were able to pull him to safety. Miller made it through the initial surgery, but the extent of the damage to his knee has yet to be determined due to the excessive swelling.
This incident comes just days after Brian Gay’s caddie, Kip Henley, wielded a rake from the sand trap to defend Gay at the RBC Heritage. He ended up playing the ball from the edge of the water that was the gator’s home. Talk about pressure. For future reference for both Brian Gay and Albert Miller, PGA rules allow a player to take a drop without penalty if their ball ends up in a dangerous situation.
I cannot even imagine the trauma that Mr. Miller experienced. The worst that has happened to me is coming within about 5 feet of a relatively large copperhead while hacking through the weeds to find my ball. I wish him the best of luck with a speedy recovery that will hopefully get him back out on the course and playing again. One word of advice, however: I know ProV1’s are pretty expensive, but next time just take a drop.
When asked about the ordeal, Albert Miller responded “You’ll never get me to look at a gator, touch a gator or eat a gator”. I don’t think anyone can argue with his sentiments.