Tripp Isenhour: Prick or Kitten Lover?

I’ll leave this one up to G4G readers: Tripp Isenhour apparently killed a hawk intentionally with a golf ball while filming a commercial. What’s the appropriate punishment?

Now consider his apology:


(RESTON, Virginia) – Professional golfer Tripp Isenhour has issued a sincere apology for a December 2007 incident in Orlando during which he hit a golf ball into a tree accidentally killing a red-shouldered hawk during the taping of a golf instructional video.

“As soon as this happened, I was mortified and extremely upset and continue to be upset. I want to let everyone know there was neither any malice nor deliberate intent whatsoever to hit or harm the hawk. I was trying to simply scare it into flying away. As evidenced by our family having adopted three cats from a local shelter, I am an animal lover. We ask that everyone accept my sincerest apology, and please be respectful of my family’s privacy,” says Isenhour.

The cats bit makes me think this apology is actually a hoax, but I received it late tonight and haven’t had time to call the number on the release….

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

33 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The reports I have read say he fired several shots at the hawk from 75 yards. When you try to hit a bird with a golf ball and it dies, that isn’t much of an accident.

  • Tripp must have the same PR advisors as Roger Clemons, Bill Clinton, Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

    How might one try to scare a hawk away? Hmmm. How about sending someone from the crew down to where the hawk was located.

    Or, if you were dumb enough to try to scare one away with a golf ball, how about hitting some soft lob shots (you know, the ones that the PGA Tour pros practice for hours on end, and hit with unbelievable accuracy) a few feet away from the bird. Or some soft dribblers.

    However, to drill balls repeatedly until you smack the bird?


  • Sad day for Dr Rotella….picking such a loser to team up with.

    Perhaps it should be called “Shoot like a moron”.

  • Assuming the above press release is genuine…

    Deny deny deny…a common approach for professional athletes (and others) caught doing something they should not. Where is the accountability in his statement?

    Some say that you can tell a person’s character by how they handle adversity. If that is the case, his statement speaks volumes…

  • Folks,

    It is a bleeping bird….Many birds die daily because of high rise buildings and our love of air travel.

    Let’s put things in perspectives…

  • Hey KC, let’s stand you out 75 yards and hit shots at your head!
    I’ll bet that if we hit you in the head and killed you, you would want the guilty party punished. Its a protected bird that was killed for no reason, how can you brush that off?

  • KC:

    Read the article link provided by RT. Assuming the account of the incident is true, this is not about birds flying into building or seagulls into planes. This is about an intentional act to harm or maim a protected bird. And it is about the character of the golfer…someone who intentionally lined up multiple tries to hit the bird. Regardless of whether he thought he could hit it or not, he tried. He perhaps felt regret after killing the bird with a lucky shot but his “apology” does not reflect any accountability of his actions.

    Some may say this discussion over a dead bird seems like overkill (sic)…but I think it is more about the character of the individual…and a reflection on the general lack of accountability by professional athletes over these kinds of actions…not that it should surprise any of us…we have seen plenty of it before. Dave Winfield and seagulls anyone?

  • “As evidenced by our family having adopted three cats from a local shelter, I am an animal lover.”

    Kinda like the racist who says, “I have lots of black friends”

  • He’s a “PRICK” alright! I would like to shove 10 golf balls down his throat and wrap all his clubs around his scumbag neck!!!

  • What a fucking asshole! If the prick comes to the UK, i will be hitting golf-balls at him – and if i hit him, it’ll be a regrettable accident…

  • This is ridiculous. He didn’t intentionally try to kill the hawk, as you put it, in the link. He tried to scare it away by hitting a ball near it. He missed his target and unfortunately hit the bird.

    This is news only to those PETA lovers who have their distorted view of the world to worry about.

    I love people threatening harm to other humans over hurting an animal too. Real intelligence and class.

  • Truth is, from what I can tell, he was indeed trying to hit the hawk. He was just surprised by his accuracy — which is sad, since he’s among the Top 500 pro golfers in the world. Either he hit the bird by intentionally aiming at it — and he is good enough to do that — or he was just trying to get close and was more accurate than he thinks he is. I’m sure he didn’t mean to kill the bird, but by his actions that was always a possibility.

    It was a stupid mistake to make, but people get punished for making stupid mistakes all the time.

  • figjam,

    You’re obviously brilliant but do you actually have an opinion or something to share on the subject or just have a need to spout insults?

  • 3putts , You are a first class prize winning “TURD”

    After stopping what he was doing and hitting “10” golf balls count them if you can TEN GOLF BALLS at that Hawk he hit it!

    But it must have been unintentional…..Right

    You Moron!

  • Holy crap. Are you guys semi-retarded? What on earth would he have to gain by deliberately attempting to kill an endangered bird? He deliberately attempted to make it fly away by very questionable means but with no specific intent to kill it. It’s like your saying that if the bird had fled he would have followed it and taken more shots. Don’t let your overblown love for animals cloud your common sense.

  • 3putts – what supports your assertion. The fact that Isenhour said “I’ll get him now” and got excited as he got closer suggests there was some intent to harm the bird, unless your man Tripp is a semi-tard.

    Why does he have to gain anything? Motive is irrelevant. People do senseless things all the time.

  • 3Putts: I agree he probably didn’t think he was going to kill the bird. But through his actions the bird WAS killed. Kind of like the person who was driving dangerously on the highway, gets in an accident and kills someone. They surely didn’t mean to kill the person in that instance, but their actions resulted in that unfortunate conclusion. Usually they are still charged with some serious offense.

    I don’t think Tripp intended to kill the bird. But he did do something that could — and you know this as well as I — have killed the bird. That it happened is a direct result of him doing something ridiculous in the first place.

    The Dave Winfield analogy has been tossed around in some places. Winfield threw a ball at a seagull. He didn’t think he actually would hit and kill the seagull, but he did. If he hadn’t thrown the ball in the first place, it wouldn’t have been an issue.

    In both the case of Winfield and Isenhour, we are talking about highly skilled atheletes. And in these instances the likelihood of them accomplishing what they set out to do is far more likely than the amateur player….

  • I’ll try one more time.

    – What he did was stupid.

    – The result was very unfortunate.

    – He deserves to be punished. Not made an example of or unduly prosecuted, just appropriately punished.

    – This is not the end of the world.

    – Anyone who thinks he should have physical harm done to him for retribution is borderline maniacal.

    – Take a look at thousands of other injustices occurring in the world every day and tell me again if this is news.

  • I find it interesting when comments are made as to whether an event is newsworthy or not. It raises the question of what is indeed newsworthy…human interest? documenting injustices? economic news? political comings and goings? etc…Bottom line, I think any event is newsworthy if it interests enough people…and treatment of animals clearly interests lots of people.

    This event, in my opinion, is newsworthy as it captures attitudes people have toward relatively defenseless animals and reflects the character of those (in this case Tripp Isenhour) who view treatment of a protected bird similar to swatting a mosquito…”the swat it or in this case, driving a golf ball aimed at its head because it is annoying me” attitude. And then, when the bird is killed (likely an unintentional outcome), the deny defense – Oh, I didn’t really mean to kill it.

    Sure, killing this bird will likely have no impact on any of us. But this is a story about the attitude of this professional athlete who represents the epitome of the golfing sport as a playing professional. I like to think of golf as a game of honour, played by honourable people, not dim witted idiots who waste the time and money of a camera crew and media company as he moves his location to take 10 shots at an innocent bird hundreds of yards away…and issues an apology (presumably through a press release?) claiming he is an animal lover. Talk about a weasel who is not accountable for his actions. I appreciate the authorities for making him accountable.

  • Figjam,

    Thanks, I read that the last time you posted. Funny, you have 4 posts on the thread and have yet to add anything. But hey, I’m an idiot.

  • How many people have tried to hit the ball picker while on the range? Heck, they even have a Master Card TV commcercial made on that premise.

  • There is two things in this world that I hate. People who hurt animals and those that abuse children. If that idiot Isenhour is reading these e-mails I have one for him. If at your next tournament I make noise will you hit me with a golf ball. I would hope so because it would be your last. You are nothing by a result of a P.G.A. enima. And to all his supporters out there and also Callvettcial or whatever your name is you are garbage just like Isenhour.

  • KC – great analogy. After all, the Hawk was in a protective cage designed to protect it from golf balls, right?

  • wow – it never ceases to amaze me how in these discussion threads people can’t just leave their own opinions without trashing someone else’s. The facts are that he was driving a golf ball at a bird… in public, with plenty of witnesses. No matter what his intentions were it’s a pretty stupid thing to do. Whether he was actually trying to kill it or scare it away… he’s the only one who knows. But… for those of you out there who don’t play golf… a golf ball is scarcely 1.5 inches across and he was hitting a driver (the least accurate club) at a target about the size of a Coke bottle from 75 yards away… not to mention it was in a tree, likely surrounded by a bunch limbs and branches. The fact that he actually hit it was pretty much a complete freak. Even Tiger Woods could hit a thousand similar shots and not hit the target. So in my opinion… no, I don’t think he was trying to intentionally kill it, but again, regardless of whether he was or not it was still simply a stupid thing to do, and he certainly deserves some kind of reprimand.

  • Tiger Woods was shown a year or two ago filming a commercial. He was told to just aim at the camera that was about 60 yards away from him. He did just as he was directed to do and broke the lens of the camera when he hit it dead centre. It didn’t take him a thousand shots to do so either. It was absolutely a stupid thing for Tripp to do and while I suspect he is not the next Michael Vick he deserves the grief that he is getting.

  • He made a mistake in judgment. Got caugth up in the situation adn hit the bird. He deserves to pay retribution in some form and be forgiven if he proves himself worthy. It should be severe enough that he will think twice in the future when pulling imature stunts like this one. maybe he really doesn’t care. Supposedly he has a serious problem with anger. I don’t know.

    Not that news worthy though and may not be a true judge of the mans character. Not worth getting super upset over. Being so outrageously offended feeds the ego.

    The bird being on the endangered list doesn’t make a difference at all except forv the law and possible punishment. If it was a pigeon or seagull would it be okay? To compare this to him hitting balls at a human being is a bit silly.

    Alot of people here are calling each other idiots etc…who knows but one thing is for sure, Trip is or was an idiot that day.

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