The Women’s Open Championship is at Carnoustie in Scotland, which is a classic seaside links layout.
One of the key features of a links course is that proximity to the ocean, and one of the things about proximity to large bodies of water: lots of seabirds.
That includes gulls, and when Madelene Sagström (near the top of the leaderboard) teed off on the first hole, her shot found both the fairway and a bird camping out on said fairway. And that bird was either intrigued or perturbed by the ball that landed near it, chasing it down and then carrying it back in the other direction, costing Sagström some yardage.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 22, 2021
Fan involvement has gotten out control. This guy just picked up Madelene's ball and moved it ten yards further back. Complete security breakdown. pic.twitter.com/0KhjlsoHhh
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) August 22, 2021
The on the ground angle is fantastic:
— Kay Cockerill (@KayCockerill) August 22, 2021
The golf itself has been great, and the broadcast (using the world feed) has been a fun watch, albeit with a few technical hiccups. But there’s nothing better than a wild animal getting involved in the action, and Randy Johnson and a few unfortunate auto racing incidents aside, golf is the sport where wildlife can have the most impact. (One of the most fun moments I’ve had playing golf: watching two baby foxes chase one of my drives down the fairway.)
Obviously Sagström was allowed to replace her tee shot where it first landed, but never forget the determination of that gull. If it had been able to carry that ball, it would have, and it deserves credit for trying.