Rob Lowe Kills Bird -- Inspires Comic Headlines

By: E&P Staff You might call it a "field day" for copy editors everywhere. It happened after reports circulated that a golf ball hit by actor Rob Lowe, formerly of "The West Wing," struck a bird in flight during a celebrity golf tourney in West Des Moines, Iowa, killing the poor thing.

Lowe was quoted as reacting, "I shot my birdie." Not bad, but then the headline writers took over.

Toronto Sun: "Rob Lowe Sinks Unlikely Birdie"

Miami Herald: "Did It Hit the West Wing?"

Des Moines Register: "Bye-Bye Birdie" "(Dead) Bird Is the Word"

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Our first entry comes from Dan "Patio" Dalton. Here it is: "Actor Lowe Balls Bird."

Two from Cecil Foster: "Rob Hits New Lowe with PETA" or "A bird on the wing is better than two in the rough."

Tom Bedway of Columbus, Ohio: "Goldfinch Laid Lowe: Swinging Actor's Ball Causes New Flap"

The Des Moines Register had even more fun with it, as follows.

Principal Financial Group is a company full of actuaries, so, of course, someone asked just what the odds were that actor Rob Lowe would hit a goldfinch while playing Wednesday in the Principal Charity Classic pro-am at Glen Oaks Country Club.

"Everyone kept asking, 'What are the odds?' so I posed the question to the experts on our actuarial staff," said Ellen Lamale, chief actuary at Principal.

When all the figuring was done, Lamale said the odds of Lowe, a co-star on "The West Wing" TV show, hitting the bird were substantially greater than Lowe getting hit by lightning, becoming a saint or even being elected president.

"It turns out there's roughly a one in 240 million chance of this happening with all factors taken into consideration," Lamale said. "Even with the odds in his favor, it looks like our feathered friend was really just a sitting duck."

The odds of getting hit by lighting are roughly 2.3 million to 1, becoming a saint is 20 million to 1 and becoming president is 10 million to 1, according to several Web sites.

"We told Rob participating in our inaugural event would be a great feather in his cap, but we didn't realize he'd take it so seriously," joked J. Barry Griswell, chairman and CEO of Principal.


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