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Northern Ireland's four-time major winner McIlroy took a putt just yards away from the unseen, apparently sleeping alligator on the eighth hole on Thursday.
In fact, McIlroy's playing partner, Justin Thomas, is stood right next to the giant reptile - seemingly unaware that the alligator was so close to him - as McIlroy holes out.
Yikes. Gators are a common sight in Florida - and in golf. Adam Sandler's cult comedy classic 'Happy Gilmore', which turned 25 this year, featured a one-eyed alligator named Chubbs which bit the hand off Happy's mentor.
Now it appears Chubbs is back - or possibly one of his offspring, at least.
McIlroy and Thomas weren't the only golfers to have a close encounter with the alligator on Thursday, however. Spanish ace Sergio Garcia later landed a shot on to the eighth green, where the same alligator was spotted again.
"A brave shot to take on through the trees, and over the water with the alligator sleeping in the background," said Sky Sports analyst Paul McGinley, per The Sun.
Co-commentator Ewen Murray replied: "You hope it's sleeping!"
McGinley responded: "They look like statues. You think they're not real like when you go to Disneyland.
"You think, 'That's not real, that's just a make-believe' and then they start moving - and you start moving too, at a quicker speed."
Wow. We didn't realise that running away from humungous reptiles was all part of the golfing challenge.
As it was, Garcia, Thomas and McIlroy all emerged unscathed - the latter posting a three under par score of 69 for his round.
And, more importantly, Rory returned to the clubhouse having avoided a fearsome wrestling match with an irate reptile, rudely awakened from its green-side nap.
Imagery: Sky Sports/PGA Tour
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