Black Bear Walks Across Fairway at PGA Tour Event: 'The BEARacuda Championships'
The bear was captured on video casually strolling towards a wooded area near the green
Golfers at the Barracuda Championship PGA Tour had a surprise visitor join them on the green during Friday's competition.
In a video posted by the PGA Tour, a black bear was seen making its way onto the fairway at Tahoe Mountain Club's Old Greenwood Golf Course, as several golfers and caddies watched in awe, keeping a distance from the wild animal.
The furry, four-legged guest halted play and casually strolled across the green as it headed towards a wooded area to the side of the golf course.
Though fans were unable to attend the outing in-person, many expressed their amusement over the sighting on social media.
"The 🐻 bear necessities! Baloo spectated," wrote one person on the video posted to the PGA Tour's Facebook, making a reference to the bear and hit song from The Jungle Book.
"Yogi’s after a birdie - but mainly a delicious pic-er-nic basket 🐻 🧺 😂," joked someone else, referencing the iconic animated character.
"You meant to say at the BEARacuda Championship," quipped another user, while someone else added, "I thought they said no fans. Someone is getting a ticket!"
"The bear crossed the green around 10 a.m this morning!" a tournament rep tells PEOPLE. "The players on the field were Kevin Tway, Pat Perez and Brendan Steele."
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John Mutch of PGA Tour Rules & Competitions points out that wildlife encounters during golf are "fairly common."
“With a situation such as a bear roaming the course in its natural habitat, we basically don’t interfere unless it becomes a dangerous situation for players and caddies and anyone else," says Mutch. "Along with our security staff, we track the movements of the bear. The rules of golf allow for us to pause and hold play if there is a threat. In fact, we did this with a group on the 10th tee Friday when the bear was nearby.”
"As far as wildlife goes on the field, it's actually fairly common!" Mutch adds. "In Florida it's common for alligators and snakes to come onto the green, and there have even been monkeys and kangaroos in Japan and Australia."
The Barracuda Championships, which kicked off on July 27, are scheduled to play until Aug. 2, according to their website.
Spectators were not allowed to attend the golf event due to COVID-19 restrictions, with officials making the "difficult" announcement at the end of June.
"While it was a difficult decision for us to make, the health and safety of everyone involved with the tournament and the surrounding area remains our number one priority," Tournament Director Chris Hoff said in a statement. "We remain very excited that a global audience that will continue to be able to see the beauty of our region through the telecast on Golf Channel."
According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDW), American black bears are the only bear species occurring naturally in Nevada and are often seen in the mountainous areas and foothills of Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada mountains and other mountain ranges in western Nevada.
In the last 10 years, bear complaints have risen dramatically due to the increase in people living in their habitat, the site stated.
The NDW also reported that the Tahoe basin has the second-highest density of black bears in North America, with multiple occasions where there have been several bears per square mile.