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A Caddyshack Moment in Florida

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Be the raccoon.
 
That's what Kenneth Gollihue thought after a crafty raccoon dashed off with a golfer's green tote bag containing snacks and a $1,200 wedding ring Tuesday at the Westin Innisbrook Golf resort.
 
Raccoons and squirrels have been known to grab unwatched food and bags along the course north of St. Petersburg. So Gollihue, a veteran groundskeeper at the resort, knew he would have to think like the pesky varmint if he was to find Helen Hutzler's missing ring.
 
'On the way home, I know it sounds silly, but I was starting to think: 'What would a raccoon do?' ' said Gollihue, 44, of New Port Richey.
 
The answer: The raccoon would run about 25 feet into a swamp, unzip the bag and gobble the airline pretzels and baggy of sliced apples. It would then leave everything else behind in the swamp.
 
And that's exactly where Gollihue found the half-submerged bag during his lunch break Thursday. The snacks were gone, but the ring was reunited with Hutzler, an avid golfer from New York who spends winters in Palm Harbor.
 
'I was all excited,' said Hutzler, 63. 'Relieved.'
 
Gollihue grew up hunting and tracking wild animals in Michigan, so he felt sure he could find the tote bag, he said. For his efforts, Hutzler gave Gollihue $100.
 
He said he plans to use the money to take his fiancee out to dinner. Asked why he was so dogged, he said it was a chance to do the right thing.
 
'I recently became engaged,' Gollihue said, 'and I know my fiancee would be just heartbroken if she lost her ring.'
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.