Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

Augusta: A tournament like no other

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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.

from Photographers' Blog:

Covering the U.S. Open (and Tiger)

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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.

“Luuuke” golf beginning to win over fans

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Luke Donald’s complete dominance of Wentworth’s brutal West Course has led the world to sit up and take notice, while his chanting fans have also made their mark.

Not that people were not aware of Donald before, just that his latest victory and the fashion in which he won Europe´s PGA have raised his profile in his native England and made him the golfer to beat again.

Has ‘Bubba golf’ got the legs for world domination?

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Inspired by Bubba Watson’s brilliance, beautifully encapsulated in that wedge from the pine needles on Augusta’s feared 10th hole en route to winning the Masters on Sunday, I took to the range for a good old clout of the golf ball rather than worrying about a textbook swing.

Ugly noise. Ball darts off right. Left-handed kid receiving a lesson two bays away, who when asked who his favourite player was replies “Bubba Watson”, hits it better with the same club (7 iron).

Masters Live

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Follow all the action and excitement of the Masters with our team of reporters and photographers at Augusta National as Tiger Woods goes in search of his fifth Masters title while a host of rivals, including Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and world number one Luke Donald seek the famous green jacket for themselves.

Click here for updates, pics, quotes, commentary and behind the scenes news from golf’s most iconic venue.

Woods wins at last but is Tiger “back” this time round?

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“That was a huge win for Tiger Woods today. Our game just got a whole lot more interesting,” scribed world number 11 Dustin Johnson on Twitter on Sunday after his fellow American dominated the field at Bay Hill to clinch the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

This theme is already being discussed just hours after former world number one Woods won his first PGA Tour event since September 2009 after a much publicised fall from grace towards the end of that year and at the beginning of 2010.

McIlroy top of the world, Woods firing…Florida serves up a classic

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Rory McIlroy became the second youngest number one golfer on Sunday after Tiger Woods when the Northern Irishman survived a final-round special from the 14-times major winner at the Honda Classic in Florida.

Golf is in fine fettle. 22-year-old McIlroy can do no wrong, Woods is showing signs of a resurgence and the pair will meet again at next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in nearby Doral for another elite-field event.

Woods caught between Rock and not such a hard place

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There was no first full-field event win for the first time since November 2009 for Tiger Woods despite starting the final round of the Abu Dhabi Championship tied for the lead, but at long last the future seems bright for the 14-times major winner.

Englishman Robert Rock could barely believe what he had achieved in seeing off Woods in the final round to claim his second European Tour victory. It was a heart-warming triumph for the lesser known players who battle each season just to keep their tour-playing rights, galaxies away from the world Woods inhabits.

Will “fit and happy” Woods rediscover on-course cheer?

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The photos depict it, Rory McIlroy’s been saying it, now it’s up to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to confirm that at long last, Tiger Woods is happy and fighting fit again.

That the 14-times major champion should choose the European Tour’s first big event of the season to make his 2012 debut in favour of one of his favourite courses at Torrey Pines in California is one thing.

from Tom Pilcher:

Two money list titles or a major? Opinion divided over Donald’s 2011

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A quick glimpse at the statistics of Luke Donald’s season and you can’t fail to be impressed, though despite a record-breaking 2011 the world number one still has his doubters.

So, those statistics. 25 tournaments entered, two money list titles (he became the first person to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour order of merit honours in the same season), four victories, 19 top 10s (including wins), and three top 20s. Crucially however, no major title.

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