Bear On The Green

image Michael Perkins sent in this image (click the image to enlarge), asking whether or not it's real. I've never seen the image before, so I don't know where it comes from, but it looks like a fake to me. The background image of the bear in the woods seems to have been pasted onto the foreground image of the golfers. Note the unnaturally straight line where the green meets the forest directly behind the flag.

Animals Photos

Posted on Tue Jul 19, 2005


Is the flag supposed to be in the cup in golf? Because if the flag in the picture is a real flag, then it's stuck in the ground several inches from the cup.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 21, 2005  at  10:42 PM
the flag produces no shadows .... it's a good one
Posted by matth  on  Fri Jul 22, 2005  at  07:21 AM
It's fake. You can see the bear photo was a different resolution from the golfers photo.

Plus, I can believe a bear could easily wander onto a rural golf course, but the odds are he wouldn't be roaring like that. a bear would only do that if he was provoked or attacking.
Posted by Steve  on  Fri Jul 22, 2005  at  10:24 AM
The flag is definately in front of the hole, and there is no way the shadow ligns up with it. It almost seems as though part of the shadow is going through the flag post. Plus, the flag itself looks way to fake to me. The pole itself is even strangely distorted, although there is the possibiity that it's caused by pixilation. Just like most people here, I think it's a fake.
Posted by Archibold  on  Fri Jul 22, 2005  at  11:34 AM
Steve, sorry, my picture doesn't have sound. rolleyes

Geez, an animal's mouth is open, and it'a automatically roaring at someone? Ever head of yawning? Sneezing??
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Jul 25, 2005  at  01:33 PM
Maybe he was screaming MAYGAN
Posted by booch  on  Tue Jul 26, 2005  at  05:48 PM
True story in the news this morning, and I'm not making it up... a 19-year-old boy survived by hiding in his golf cart as he was attacked by a bear while playing golf! The newsreport did not mention whether the boy's shadow was consistent with the bear's.
Posted by Vincent  in  Stamford, CT  on  Wed Jul 27, 2005  at  09:05 AM
As an imaging expert I can definitely say that the complaints people have with the golf flag and the cap could all be natural results from the imaging system. Clearly it was a low-res camera with the compression turned way up. The problems people note are technically referred to as "jpeg artifacts"

However, the compression level of this image on your site is not high enough to warrant such glaring artifacts, indicating that it was likely opened in photoshop and re-compressed at a higher quality level.

This was likely taken with a low resolution cell-phone camera. The resolution of 480 pixels wide is consistant with many cell phones. What's more disturbing is that most cameras do not take square photographs, indicating that it may have been cropped in photoshop. This would explain the compression difference.

I received another copy of this image in an email and the pixel size was 591x591, and the compression was at a higher level (quality was lower). But that resolution is not consistent with cell phone cameras, again indicating that the image was cropped.

As far as the content:

Most disturbing to me is that the flag is still in the cup, and 3 golfers were near the hole. By the time 3 people get close with putters, the flag would be pulled. Unless two other balls are hidden behind the three golfers, and nobody reached the flag before the bear emerged.

But overall this picture is overwhelmingly believable. All sorts of wildlife live in the woods, and all the best golf courses are built into the woods. I've seen deer, foxes, every bird imaginable, chipmunks, rabbits, turtles, alligators, frogs, snakes, fish... so why not bears? The reaction of the golfers is pretty convincing too.
Posted by Brent  in  USA  on  Wed Jul 27, 2005  at  01:09 PM
it sure is a fake: look how the flag at the pole in the hole is pasted over the background...
Posted by Bavarian  in  Bavaria- where else  on  Wed Jul 27, 2005  at  11:45 PM
Come one - the most obvious exivdence it's a fake is the CLEAR AS DAY cloning to the left of the white flag and above the cap. Here, I have circled it in case you can't see it:

(Sorry the pic is a bit small - but if you look at those areas on the original you can celarly see the repeated textures where someone has made a bad botch job of cloning the trees)
Posted by Rob  on  Fri Jul 29, 2005  at  10:18 AM
I took a look at the blow-up and saw the shadow for the flag. It's faint and just above a change in the grass color so it's hard to see. Just how good was the camera used to take this photo? A good quality digital, a film or a cameraphone? The quality of the camera and recording medium would affect the quality of the photo.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sat Jul 30, 2005  at  09:10 PM
Yeah that area has obviously been cloned, good catch.
Posted by Bob  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  09:18 AM is carrying this as an undetermined, but does give the source of the photo. I tried finding the photo posted somewhere other than on MoH, and had no luck.
Posted by BugbearSloth  in  earth, 3rd planet, sol system  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  03:38 PM
Snopes have confirmed it as a true pic now.
Posted by Smerk  in  to mischief  on  Sun Jul 31, 2005  at  08:24 PM
Just ran across this one over at, The photographer says the picture is real. (But then again, he would, wouldn't he?) wink
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  06:46 AM
there is no shadow from the flag, but is from the bear and golfers... I would also guess tv commerical.
Posted by David  in  CO  on  Fri Sep 02, 2005  at  04:57 PM
It looks real to me... Have you ever been golfing? A bear on the course would make me run away. If anything, the golfers were photoshopped in. It's real.
Posted by Golfmitgliedschaft  on  Sun Oct 12, 2008  at  02:42 AM
Fake. The flag looks to be about 15 feet tall if someone was standing next to it.
Posted by ajr  on  Thu Mar 05, 2009  at  08:25 PM
Well , I'd say it's fake , both the green lines , which are way un-naturally put together , second , you can see the flag , it's so thin in some places which happens when you try to remove the background of something and replacing it.
Posted by Jeremy  on  Thu Jan 27, 2011  at  01:46 AM
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