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The Black Snake

 

Watch out for the black snake
Following the 1959 Commonwealth tournament in Johannesburg Peter Toogood was playing a foursomes match at Royal Durban with his regular partner Jack Coogan. They were 3 up after playing 14 holes. Their opponents then warned that the long grass along the final four fairways was the habitat of a deadly black snake. ‘It won’t worry me,’ chuckled Coogan, ‘Peter hasn’t missed a fairway for 20 years!’ With that Coogan sliced his drive on the 15th into the rough, leaving a worried Toogood with the next shot. ‘I’m not going in there,’ declared Toogood, and promptly conceded the hole. As Toogood backed into long grass behind the 16th green to get a line on his chip to the green, he felt a slight sting on the back of his leg. Convinced he’d been bitten by the dreaded black snake, an alarmed Toogood immediately alerted Coogan. Consummate golfer that he was, Coogan replied: ‘Then we’d better hurry up and win this match and get you to a doctor.’ Fortunately, Coogan’s drive found the 17th fairway. Breathing a sigh of relief, Toogood hit his eight iron to within 2 feet of the pin and Coogan holed the putt. The match won, Toogood was raced to a nearby doctor who examined his leg and declared that he’d been bitten by a harmless African bug of some sort. Coogan reveled in relating the story to their opponents and the other Australians when they caught up with them at the 19th hole.



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Struan McDowall

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