Having a drone in flight to video first-person view footage of football hero Tom Brady’s against-the-odds hole-in-one golf shot seems too serendipitous to be real. And that’s because it is – not real, that is – according to about half of the online viewers now panning it as a fraud.
This latest example of how social media will turn anything into a wedge instantly dividing humanity arose on Wednesday, when Tampa Bay quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady posted the 34-second film of his one-shot exploit. It opens with a side view of his swing, Brady following the trajectory, and celebrating as if he’d won another dozen NFL titles after it drops. Footage then cuts to the drone approaching Brady behind, trailing the looping arch of the golf ball over the verdant course, and its audible (though not easily visible) arrival into the hole.
While many online commentators have expressed astonishment, envy, and admiration at the drone video of Brady walking on water in golf the same way he seems to in most other endeavors, about half of the people weighing in have voiced a variety of reasons why the entire one-shot production must be a hoax.
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For starters, golf geeks point out Brady’s shot was made off an improvised tee halfway down the fairway, meaning it doesn’t qualify as the hole-in-one that many enthusiasts called it. (Brady himself avoided using the term in his tweet, saying instead, “This is why you film every shot on the course…” In later media reports he also acknowledges the location of the shot prevents it from being a hole-in-one.)
Others ignored the golf technicalities and took issue with the drone aspect of Brady’s video.
“IDK whats more impressive, getting a hole in 1 or flying a drone at the speed of a golf ball (211MPH) inches from someone’s leg and not cutting them in half lol,” tweeted justsomeppl in one example. “Somethin doesnt add up lol. Theres no way a drone could keep up with a golf ball.”
Another category of skeptics claimed to identify what they called telltale signs of creative editing or even computer-generated images added to the drone video to fabricate Brady’s golf success.
“If you notice the elevation change, there is no way Brady could see that shot go in as he states when he watches it,” notes Nathan Clark.
“What makes it more impressive is the fact that the ball you’re using is bigger than the hole,” added Bunz. “Truly the goat.”
Interestingly, the percentage of those cheering and jeering Brady’s drone video golf feat differed by social media platform. YouTube commentators generally accepted the footage as legit, tweets were roughly divided, and responses on the r/drones subredit were largely dubious to outright hostile.
Read: Drone fly-through at PGA Tour Championship is ridiculously impressive
Sports media has noted the drone video comes ahead of Brady’s showdown with fellow NFL stars Aaron Rogers, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen in the Las Vegas The Match celebrity golf exhibition new week. The footage, some writers noted, may have been his way of getting into his rivals’ heads.
Whatever the case – and the authenticity of the drone video – Brady’s self-glorifying golf footage does raise one question that nobody noted in their responses to it. Shouldn’t being a millionaire, record-setting sports legend adored by millions of fans as well as a super-model wife be enough for one ego without continually piling stuff on?