So I was sitting in the Las Vegas airport after three days of shooting the Olympic Trials for wrestling and judo. I am not really a golf fan or anything but with a tournament the size of the US Open plus a few of my buddies (Benson and Vasquez) were there shooting it I passively followed the action when I had a few minutes.
My flight ended up being delayed by about 45 minutes which had me sitting on the ground in the corner plugged into a power outlet working on images when my buddy Pouya Dianat IM’d me to tell me about the final hole of the tournament with Tiger Woods trailing Rocco Mediate by a stroke. I didn’t think he was gonna sink the final put to send the game into overtime then I heard cheers from all around the airport and seconds later received the IM from Pouya “WOW”
I stayed online to see what our shooters got of the final jube from the round where Tiger went nuts and both my buddies had amazing shots, one shot tight while the other shot loose. Not sure if they planned it that way but things worked out perfectly. My next question was to make sure they could both be back for the playoff round the next day. One of the shooters couldn’t due to his obligations at his other job so that made the little light bulb go off in my head and set the ball into motion for me to go shoot Tiger for the first time.
I found a cheap airfare online and booked that then flew home to Phx, spent a few hours with the girlfriend then woke up at 430am Monday morning to grab some Dennys and head to the airport. Landed in San Diego at 715am where Robert Benson picked me up and we headed to the media parking lot to ride the overstuffed bus to the course. All I can say about the media bus is we went up a big hill and we were getting passed by people on freakin scooters! It was pretty lame. Now I know how Justin Kase Conder feels when he putts around Baltimore in his 3 cylinder Metro (I love you still Justin)
Had a few seconds to set up a caption and grab some water (not near enough!) and headed out to the course to begin the round.
The amount of media waiting at the first tee was pretty insane, usually the media is spread out amongst a few different groups of golfers but since this was a playoff with just two golfers it was bound to be packed. Plus its the US Open!
Of course every other golf shooter had all their big lenses on monopods. (allow me to break away for a moment)……A lot of fellow shooters seem to think I shoot without a monopod because I am trying to act like I am some sort of a badass or something which is totally not the way it is……I grew up the son of a motorsports photographer who never used them and always told me not to (probably because he never used a lens bigger than a 300 f4) But here and there the past few years I really have tried using monopods but after shooting without them for over 14 years its not an easy habit to break. But I will make a promise to the world right here, right now. I will NEVER shoot golf again without a monopod! Its been a week since I shot that round of golf and my body is still hating me for it.
Lets get back to the game now.
So both guys teed off and away the pack of shooters went as we ran around trying to get good images as well as stay out of the way of the gallery of fans who hated the media more than any event I have ever shot before. I heard some crazy stuff yelled to us by the fans….my personal favorite, “I hope you fall and fuckin’ break your neck!” Classy eh! I did learn that if you wore anything that made you stand out then you would get heckled mercilessly. The overweight guy who wore the purple shirt was dubbed Barney by multiple hecklers throughout the day.
But anyways it was such a great experience shooting a historic round of golf that Tiger Woods eventually won in a sudden death hole.
I am still a beginner at shooting golf but I walked away with a few shots I was somewhat happy with. Next time I shoot golf I will be packing more water, a monopod and NO purple shirt!
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