In 2015, during my rookie year on the PGA Tour, I was in LA for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. The day before the tournament, some members invited me and a friend to go over and play LA Country Club.
We couldn’t wait. Not only is it a phenomenal golf course, but we also knew what awaited us on the back nine: The Playboy Mansion is behind the 14th tee and Hef kept monkeys in a little zoo there. From experience I knew you could feed them, too.
Usually when you stopped at the halfway house, you picked up a banana or some kind of food for the monkeys to eat. Somehow when we were at the turn, I completely forgot to get something for them. But I said, “Screw it. It’ll be fine.”
After we putted out on 13, we walked back to the cage and one of the members said, “Be careful; they’re a little wild.” Got it. We worked our way to the mansion’s back fence and found the monkeys. We were messing around, taking pictures, and completely forgot about feeding them. We were almost done and I absent-mindedly put my hand on the fence. Sure enough, this little monkey runs over and takes a bite right out of my finger.
It kind of hurt, but nothing crazy. So we moved on and hit our tee shots on 14. It wasn’t until we were walking down the fairway that I really started to think about what just happened. Was it bad that this animal just bit me?
I asked my partners about it. One guy said, “They’re Playboy monkeys! They’ve got to be certified or whatever.” Right.
A few holes later, the other member who had obviously been thinking about it suggested I call a doctor. Good idea. I called the on-site physician back at the tournament. He started laughing: “What are you doing at the Playboy Mansion and how the heck did you get bitten by a monkey?”
I walked him through it and he said I should be fine. Certified monkeys! He told me to go back to my round, but ominously also said he was going to check a couple things.
A couple hours later, we were finished and having lunch on the patio. My phone rang and it was the doctor. Now he was freaking out, telling me to get to the emergency room ASAP. I ran out of there yelling, “Holy shit, I’m going to die!”
By the time I got to the hospital, I was convinced that my hand would need to be amputated. Thankfully the punch line isn’t that great: The docs checked me out and said I would keep all of my fingers. Looks like Hef took care of his monkeys after all.
The next day, I saw the doctor by the registration area with all of the volunteers. He went into the story for everyone and said that in his 42 years it was the second-craziest story he’d ever heard at this event. I asked him what the No. 1 story was and he said, “Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to tell you or anyone else about the craziest one.”