There won't be a funeral. Please done't send flowers. Just thank your lucky stars it wasn't you -- on either end of the shot.

The setting was the Bethesda Country Club. The date was spending the holiday hacking that little white ball around the golf course. But when Dr. Ernst Bremer hit his drive at the 10th hole, a jolly day in the sun suddenly turned horrible.

Dr. Bremer's tee shot was not the stuff of highlight films. To be blunt, he skulled it. The ball screamed down the fairway, but about two inches off the ground. About 75 yards out, it took a hop. At just that instant, a squirrel darted out of the woods and took a hop himself. As he landed, the golf ball smacked him right in the head.

The four doctors sprinted to the scene. "It wasn't too pretty," said Dr. Harold Hawfield, director of medical affairs at Washington Hospital Center. "There was blood coming out of his nose, and he didn't look like he was going to make it. We debated euthanasia for a while, but then we said, 'Well, let's give him a chance.'"

The doctors moved the squirrel's inert body off to the side of the fairway. They played four more holes, then came back to check. "He was still breathing, so we knew there was hope," Dr. Hawfield said.

Four more holes, then another bedside visit. "He was still with us," Dr. Hawfield said.

So was luck. In the clubhouse, the four doctors ran into a fifth: Harvey Cowan, a retired veterinarian.

Excitedly, the foursome told Dr. Cowan about what had happened. He hurried to the 10th fairway, took a look and said he thought he might be able to save the squirrel.

Into a borrowed bird cage went the patient. Within an hour, he had been admitted to Friendship Animal Hospital in Northwest.

"He seemed to perk up a bit there at first," Dr. Cowan said. But a concussion and internal injuries proved to be too much to overcome. The squirrel died in his sleep.

Dr. Bremer is, of course, remorseful. He has vowed to practice his driving all summer so he won't menace any more wildlife.

I can offer him this, if it makes him feel any better: Golfers tell me that hitting that squirrel was about one in a trillion.