Golf round turns hazardous Lenoir City man bitten by alligator in Florida By Staff and wire reports
June 27, 2007

A Lenoir City man golfing in Venice, Fla., nearly lived up to his name Monday afternoon, when a nearly 11-foot alligator tried to have him for lunch.

Bruce Burger, 50, was on the sixth hole of the Lake Venice Golf Club when an errant shot found one of the course's numerous water hazards.

Despite a "beware of alligator" sign, Burger tried to recover his ball from the pond, drawing the attention of a one-eyed alligator that latched onto his right forearm and pulled him into the pond.

"He rents a set of clubs and then good Lord, you know, the worst," said course general manager Rod Parry. "At 5 o'clock we were told that an alligator had attacked a golfer."

It was not a first for the course. Parry said another golfer ran into a similar situation nearly 20 years ago in the same pond.

Burger freed himself from the reptile's jaws by beating it with his left arm.

It was initially reported that Burger suffered additional wounds to his leg and groin, but Parry said it was nothing more than a groin strain.

"I could see when they picked him up that he didn't have much support in his leg," Parry said. "So it's fortunate that he didn't have any bites except his right forearm."

Burger was taken by ambulance to Venice Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

Burger could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

"The wounds weren't that serious," said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's just a matter of keeping it clean with proper antibiotics."

Morse said he believes the attack might have occurred because the alligator associated people with feeding.

He added that feeding ducks and turtles in ponds is against the law in Florida because the feeding could inadvertently benefit alligators.

All nuisance alligators - those that bite people - in Florida are processed for their meat and hide.

"They are humanely destroyed," Morse said.

It took seven Fish and Wildlife officers an hour to trap the alligator, which measured 10 feet, 11 inches, Morse said. The population of alligators in Florida is more than a million, outnumbering the bodies of fresh water in the state.

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