It’s been viewed on YouTube almost a million times, and while that isn’t exactly Gangnam Style in its popularity, it was one of the funnier sports-related videos to go viral in 2012.
The video itself is mildly amusing – in the way one might get amused by someone running onto the field in the middle of a football game (which Jungle Bird also did, by the way) – but once I learned about the part of the story that isn’t encompassed in the 15 second viral video, it became all the more fascinating.
If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here, but I’ll describe the particulars anyway:
Esteemed NBC sportscaster Bob Costas is giving his standard victory circle interview to Webb Simpson. It appears to be your standard post-game fare. I’m sure it was a pretty epic moment for Mr. Simpson, having won his first major and all, but for a casual observer it is just another sports interview complete with all the standard clichés and platitudes.
What happened next was anything but ordinary, however.
The camera was zooming in on Simpson’s face, when all of a sudden, a new image appears – a bizarre character, sporting a waggish grin and an unforgettable headpiece. As the viewers’ eyes are diverted from the mundane interview to this anything-but-ordinary spectacle the most noticeable thing is that hat, a colorful wool cap colored to resemble the Union Jack flag, but adorned in a style that gives it a distinctively avian flavor.
The attention grabbing spectacle is a man named Andrew Dudley, who would later be known to the world as Jungle Bird. And his 15 minutes of fame are about to start with a series of squawks.
Like a baby crow hungry for food, Dudley unveils his bird call repertoire, all the while hogging the camera space from an astonished Simpson and Costas, who each continue their interview but with an obvious trace of distraction.
Dudley unleashes another “ca-caw” and a new person jumps onto the screen. It is USGA directory Mike Davis and he is not amused by the antics. Despite a diminutive build and an unassuming look, Davis springs into ferocious action, grasping fiercely onto Dudley and tossing him off the camera.
No longer able to maintain the composure as the physical altercation continues off-camera, Simpson busts up and gets off a choice one-liner towards the now-flightless Jungle Bird.
“Enjoy the jail cell, pal,” Simpson quips, though his wide grin indicates that he is more amused than annoyed or angry at the situation.
Turns out that Dudley wouldn’t spend much time in a cell; he was booked and released on a minor charge and by morning he was a viral sensation.
This, as it turned out, was what he was hoping for.
Dudley wasn’t your normal run-of-the-mill drunk that thinks it is a good idea to interrupt a sporting event. On the contrary, Dudley’s disruption was carefully calculated, designed to draw attention to him so he could then draw attention to his pet political cause.
Dudley is a passionate advocate against the removal of stands of trees that has been occurring in places like the Amazon Rain Forest. His U.S. Open stunt certainly helped draw attention to his cause and has made him a minor celebrity.
He has continued his appearances, disrupting a Notre Dame vs. Navy football game this fall among a handful of other public appearances, and has vowed to continue to raise awareness for his cause in his own strange and, some might say, troublesome manner.
What might he have in store for us in 2013? It seems likely that the now-infamous Jungle Bird will make another appearance on the PGA tour at some point.
Where will this crazy bird land next?
Scott McCormick enjoys crazy birds almost as much as he likes birdies. His golf commentary appears courtesy of San Diego Golf experts Golf Now.com