Golfers, keep calm & carry on: Never mind the alligator on the green

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Golfers at a course in Florida on Wednesday were careful to putt around a large alligator, days after the beast was photographed lounging on the edge of the green.

The image has since gone viral on Facebook.

The reptile is estimated at up to 4 metres long.

A women’s tournament went on as planned at the Myakka Pines Golf Club in Englewood, on Florida’s west coast, as the gator lounged in full view of about 100 participants, said the club’s general manager Mickie Zada.

Zada added: 

“If we stopped playing because of alligators, we’d never have golfers.”

Zada said she had spent much of Wednesday morning fielding calls from reporters asking whether the photo, taken by a golfer on Friday, was doctored to make the alligator appear larger.

“This gentleman is well into his 80s. He wouldn’t even know Photoshop,” Zada said.

Photos: Reuters

While more than 200,000 people had clicked the Facebook photo as of Tuesday, the club said the alligator is far from the first – or even the biggest – to show up on the course.

A 4.5-metre long one, nicknamed 'Big George', hung around for years until his death, Zada said.

Despite nearly-daily alligator sightings at the course, there have been no attacks in the club’s 37-year history, Zada said, owing in part to a strict policy against feeding the animals.

Dangerous confrontations between humans and alligators usually stem from people feeding them, Florida wildlife officials have said.

The new alligator has yet to be given a moniker, but that may soon change, Zada said.

“We might name him Viral,” she said. - Reuters