Photographers' Blog

Augusta: A tournament like no other

Augusta, Georgia

By Phil Noble

It was the author Mark Twain who wrote “Golf is a good walk spoiled” and although the persistent rain that dogged the final round play at this years Masters certainly made it tough for both players and photographers alike, the amazing photographs at the final hole of regular play and the subsequent thrilling playoff certainly ensured our “good walk” wasn’t ruined.

I was lucky enough to be asked to return to the Augusta National golf club this year for my second Masters tournament. Along with my Reuters colleagues Mike Segar, Bryan Snyder, Mark Blinch and 24 year Masters veteran Gary Hershorn, who would edit our pictures, we pitched up again at the Mecca of golf to cover a tournament unlike any other.

At most other golf championships we cover, photographers are allowed to work inside the ropes that hold the spectators back, making the job of following play and getting into a good position to photograph the golfers a relatively easy one. At Augusta however, we are accorded no such privilege, the hallowed, well manicured and vibrant green turf being preserved only for those playing in the tournament, meaning we are in with the spectators, or in the case of Augusta, the ‘patrons’.

With tens of thousands of golf fans all vying to get a view of their heroes, moving around the course and finding a clear vantage point is more challenging than usual, but once you’ve got your ‘masters head’ on and a bunch of “Excuse me”, “Would you mind awfully if I…” and a liberal sprinkling of “If I kneel can I squeeze in front of you?” in your camera bag the course offers a wealth of angles and pictures unlike anywhere else.

The course is a work of art with towering Georgia pines providing the scaffolding for the miles of vibrant green fairways and greens to roll through. Throw into the mix a splash of vibrant azalea pinks and purples and a hint of dogwood and wisteria all bathed in amazing Georgia light and you have a breathtaking vista in which to photograph golf.

Covering the U.S. Open (and Tiger)

By Jeff Haynes

The U.S. Open is always one of the toughest events of the year to work. As photographers working a golf tournament we have to deal with more challenges during a week of golf than we might during the whole rest of the year. Weather, Tiger, blisters, Tiger, hills, Tiger, tight leader boards, Tiger, long days, Tiger, a sore body, Tiger, fog, Tiger, marshalls, Tiger and 155 other golfers not named Tiger.

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Working with three outstanding Reuters’ photographers – Robert Galbraith, covering what he figures is around his 80th Major Golf Tournament dating back to the 1982 U.S. Open where Watson and Nicklaus battled at Pebble Beach, Matt Sullivan and Danny Moloshok – made this a very enjoyable week. Each day these guys came up with amazing photographs telling the story of the day.

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

During the week leading up to the actual tournament our days start with 4:55 am wake-up calls, bus rides to the course and greeting Tiger Woods. Tiger is always the first golfer off in the morning on either the 1st or 9th tee before 7 am as we take pictures of his practice round and then try to find interesting and meaningful pictures of other golfers in the news. Casey Martin made news early on in the week, with him qualifying for a U.S. Open and being able to use a golf cart to help him around the course, because of a rare blood disorder he has had since birth. He sued and won a law suit more the 8 years ago granting him the right to use a golf cart during his round. Defending champion Rory McIlroy came in with high hopes of defending his title along with the number 1 ranked player in the world, Luke Donald. These three players would need to be photographed along the way, along with many other well deserving golfers, and the beautiful course itself.

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