The Ultimate Golf Story: Man Destroys Benin Air Force With One Inglorious Slice
When golfers get together they typically like to regale one another with tales of their exploits on the golf course. Like fishermen, who are known for their exaggerated tall tales on the water, golfers are known to stretch the truth in an effort to top someone else’s story or to have the most impressive story of a feat on the golf course that would be unmatched by the greatest of professional players.
Most of these stories are clearly exaggerations. Most deal with the perfect game or the miraculous shot that no one else witnessed.
But, try as they might, no golfer in history could ever top the story of Mathieu Boya.
Numerous newspapers around the world authenticated the wild tale and firmly established it as fact while documenting Boya’s story. With one inglorious slice, the teenage boy hit an errant golf ball that destroyed his nation’s air force and resulted in incredible damage and a prison sentence.
This bizarre story began in 1987. Boya was a teenage boy living in his homeland of Benin, a tiny West African nation of 8 million. Boya loved the game of golf. Unfortunately, in this tiny impoverished nation there were no golf courses. Due to this, Boya routinely went to the local airfield to practice his swing. There were five airfields in the nation at the time. Of these, only one was paved. The tiny country had a small air force that consisted of only five Mirage fighter jets that frequently taxied up and down the runway. For the most part, the pilots were usually oblivious to the youth’s presence near the airfield.
One morning, Boya went to the airfield to get in a little golf practice. Little did he know he was about to set into place a chain of ridiculous events that looked like a slapstick farce.
One of the five jets had begun to taxi down the runway when Boya teed off. The errant shot flew high into the air and struck a low flying sea gull knocking him unconscious. The stricken bird fell from the sky landing in the open cockpit of the taxiing jet. When the gull landed in the lap of the pilot, the startled bird began to flap about wildly and peck at the pilot who was startled and quickly lost control of the jet. The bird flew out of the jet at the last moment just as the pilot crashed into the four other Mirage jets parked near the runway damaging or destroying them all.
Boya was immediately arrested. Fortunately, no one was injured but damage from this errant golf ball was estimated at $40 million. There was no money in the nation’s treasury to pay for the damages and Boya was ordered to pay restitution. Sadly, the teen made only $275 per year. At this rate, it would take 145,454 years for the youth to pay his debt to society.
The nation had, over the years, stood up to the threat of invasion from hostile neighbors and civil war. But it took just one golf ball to wipe out the air force.
This is one of 50 strange but true stories in a new book written by Michael Williams. The book is entitled "Stranger Than Fiction: The Lincoln Curse." The stories will leave the reader convinced that perhaps Mark Twain was right when he said "truth is stranger than fiction."
Michael Williams has written for more than 30 newspapers and magazines including the Civil War Times Illustrated, The Civil War Courier, the Associated Press and the Knoxville Journal.
Source: Posted by Michael Williams on April 20, 2012
Photo: Beninese Air Force LH Aviation LH-10 Ellipse F-WWNX in Aéroport Paris-Le Bourget