Tripp Isenhour was awarded a PGA Tour card after hitting a "one-in-a-million" golf shot that killed a protected hawk this week.
PGA officials were quoted as saying, "Great shot," and "Those fucking birds have no respect for the game."
Isenhour was annoyed by the hawk's loud chirps that interrupted the filming of his instructional video. When the video hits the market, the shot will be included in promotional tags and listed as "cool stuff" in the DVD's bonus section.
"Too bad it was just a hawk and not an eagle," Isenhour said, trying to mix his knowledge of language with golf lingo.
Those outside the isolated world of pro golf were outraged by the incident. Bird-lovers, lovebirds, know-nothings and chronic complainers said a light fine and suspension of practice putting green privileges, Isenhour's likely punishment, would fall well short of what they deemed adequate. Many said he should be stoned to death, as in biblical times when golf etiquette was breached, or be forced to listen to several Celine Dion recordings, the harshest punishment currently employed at the Guantanamo Bay terrorist lockup.
The PGA said it would start the punishment process by issuing a written reprimand, probably with very strong language. However, one PGA insider said the organization's biggest ongoing concern was keeping another African-American like Tiger Woods from emerging and taking away so many endorsement opportunities.
"White players are very upset," one official said. "The hawk thing? Not so much."
The PGA reserves the right to issue a Tour card for "special cases," such as Casey Martin, who claims to have a disability and needs a cart, or be carried on horseback, to go from hole to hole rather than walk the course like his heroic counterparts laboriously do.
PGA officials said Isenhour's shot was like a "quadruple hole-in-one," and merited a one-year Tour card.
"Unless he does it again," an insider said. "Then it's good for life."
Isenhour is playing the Nationwide Tour this year, but has played two years on the PGA Tour. He lost his card both times, once after failing to finish in the top 125 money winners, and the other when leaving it in his pants pocket and having it shredded in the wash. He tried taping the pieces back together but was turned away by security guards at every Tour event thereafter, although he did pass it off once as a Fun Club membership card at Balloon World.
Touring pros responded to the incident by saying, "Get me my three-wood, boy," "Where's my limo driver," and "I'll have the Hawk Combo Meal with a Diet Coke."
Woods, meanwhile, sidestepped the issue, saying only that "I'm not a spokesman for the black community. Besides, I'm only part-black, so talk to Louis Farrakhan, Malcolm X, or one of 'those' people."
Golf announcer Pat Summerall said in a whisper that the improbable shot "looked to me like he got a birdie."
But the overriding sentiment in the golf community was, "Who is this guy?" and "Where can I get that video?"