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Tiger Woods outfoxed by feral friend?

By Sarah Holt, for CNN
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A fox who waits to catch golf balls has become an unwitting video star
  • "Foxy" catches balls at Verbier Golf Club in the Swiss Alps
  • He has stolen more than 100 golf balls in the last month
  • Elsewhere, alligators and kangaroos have also interrupted professional events in 2013

(CNN) -- A Tiger prowling the fairways may be a familiar sight, but at a golf club in Switzerland it is a fox that has emerged as a new star of the game.

The antics of a red fox cub at the alpine Verbier Golf Club's par three Moulins course have sparked the sort of global media interest golf's big cat Tiger Woods might be proud of.

"The story has gone around the world," the club's director Thomas Grech told CNN. "It's very, very funny.

"The fox comes every day at the end of the afternoon between four and six o'clock.

"He's running around in between holes one and six waiting for the players to hit the ball and then directly he is running after the ball and running away with it in his mouth.

"He has a nice red coat. He's very young and is alone with no other fox."

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Nicknamed "Foxy," the young fox has been arriving for its regular late afternoon round for the last month.

And, rather than being hunted down, the fox is proving to be good for business.

"People are very interested and many people come in the afternoon to see the animal," Grech explained.

"We live in the mountains so it's usual to see animals; we have dogs and cats which sometimes come.

"But it's not very common to see a savage animal coming so close to people who play on the golf course. It's very, very special for us.

"My colleague Muriel Guex who looks after the restaurant tells me she has more people in between four and six o'clock for when the fox comes."

See you later, alligator

The appearance of a three-legged alligator at this year's Zurich Classic in New Orleans gave a new meaning to the golfing term water hazard, while a herd of hopping kangaroos at the 2013 Ladies' Australian Open in Canberra provided an interesting wildlife distraction for spectators.

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But the golfers in Switzerland are at ease with the regular appearance of their four-legged friend at Verbier.

"Of course the fox is disturbing the game," Grech continued. "But people are not angry at all. There is no problem.

"He is just trying to play with the golfers."

The only downside seems to be the cost of losing all those golf balls. The club estimates that Foxy has snaffled more than 100 balls.

Tricky little fox

"We do not know where the balls are," admitted Grech. "He has a few holes around the golf course. People have looked for them but no chance.

"It's more a game for the fox. He is tricky -- but we like the little fox."

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, the village of Verbier is expecting its first snow fall in November for its prestigious ski season ahead.

The approaching winter will close the golf course at the beginning of the month and that means the club's newest player faces an uncertain future.

"In the winter, he will stay more in his hole in the earth," Grech predicted. "Maybe next spring we will see the fox. We will see..."

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