We can thank Aussie legend Greg Norman for making his “Shark” nickname and logo common on the world's golf courses, but the working theory is it was not a pro golfer but a predatory seabird who brought a live leopard shark to San Juan Hills Golf Club Monday.
A two-foot-long Triakis semifasciata was found flopping around near the 12th hole tee box at the San Juan Capistrano links that are about five miles from the ocean (and slightly closer as the divebird flies).
A San Juan Hills course marshal spotted the flopping fish
marine mammal, gently placed it in the back of his golf cart and drove it to the clubhouse, reports the Capistrano Dispatch, which notes the light brown shark with black spots had blood coming from a puncture wound near its dorsal fin. (*corrected)
That could indicate some other beast's jaw had clutched it. Given the lack of recent biblical floods and difficultly leopard shark predators like seals, sea lions and larger sharks face hailing cabs from the Marine Institute parking lot for rides to the 12th tee of the San Juan Hills Golf Club, we can rule them out. A bird dropping the shark is the best bet out there.
The golf course staff didn't have time to think about that, since the shark required a quick return to the ocean to survive. It was placed in freshwater for the car drive to Dana Point, where it was released back to the sea . . . where it was promptly caught by a fisherman. Just kidding.
Actually, leopard sharks are among the most common sharks along our coast. Because they have small teeth, they pose little threat to humans. A shark that does pose a threat to humans killed a surfer this morning off the coast of Vandenberg Air Force Base's Surf Beach in Lompoc. What kind of shark bit or hit the unidentified 38-year-old man remains a mystery at this hour.