Tiger Frenzy at Augusta National

Now Boarding!

 After a four-hour flight to Charlotte, a two hour layover in Charlotte Airport, a puddle jumper into Augusta, and a short drive in an Avis Rent-A-Car, I was officially part of the Tiger Woods Masters Media Frenzy. On assignment for Golf Digest/Golf World as a supplement to their staff photographer’s coverage, I was excited and also a bit wary of the crowds and vibe that I was going to run into at Augusta National. I pitched the idea of coming a day early on Monday to the Golf Digest Director of Photography Christian Iooss to shoot some features well before Tiger’s camp broke word of his return to competitive golf. Unfortunately due to my flight time, I would not only miss the first half of the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game between Duke and Butler (Go Bulldogs!) but also would land in Augusta several hours after Tiger’s anticipated interview with the media. Digest Senior Staff photographer Dom Fuore would be there covering the presser, and I was just curious into how much Tiger would actually open up to the media or as Arnold Palmer put it “let them take shots at him”.

Funny thing is I had little interest in following the Tiger Woods parade and gallery but was more interested in just doing an offbeat view of the Masters, the greatest golf show on earth. For those of who have ever been to Augusta or have even watched it on the tube (it is the most-watched golf tourney even before Wood’s return) you can attest to the pure grandeur and mystique of the place. With no commercials allowed on the grounds, no media allowed inside the ropes, very slight course changes over the years, and the classic chicken and tuna salad still at a very reasonable buck fifty, I liken it to the land where time stood still. I am looking forward to my week here and hope to catch some a glimmer of that Masters’ magic in my camera…

 Shot of my boarding ticket and beer during my layover at Atlanta Airport…

Comments

  1. If and when you ever get the chance, I would love to know more about your strategy for covering this event from outside the ropes, especially if you’re assigned to cover Tiger’s group. I know that at times it can be a challenge covering Tiger from even inside the ropes, given the amount of people trying to follow him, with and without cameras, so I’m having a hard time imagining how you might cover him at Augusta. Do you have favorite locations picked out every few holes and hope that you beat the crowds to those spots as the round progresses?

    • Augusta National is probably the most scenic but also the hardest golf course to cover: you’ve got hills, packed galleries and green, and most of all no access inside the ropes. But somehow the photos always seem to line up because it’s such a beautiful course and so wide open and clean in the backgrounds. I do have favorite locations and you just have to get there a group ahead if you want to get a spot to shoot the group you’re covering. 2nd green is nice for an early light shot for approaches and bunkers, 4th tee is a nice backlit background for irons with a bit of crowd, 7 green is easily accessible under the tower and sometimes works as is 9th green from the 18th tower. 10 green has a great photo tower and is a beautiful green shadowed by giant trees, 11th fairway is money with the dogwoods and clean dark backgrounds with some golfers hitting out of the pinestraw. Amen corner is stunning from many different corners. 14 & 15 fairways are nice, and 16th hole is just where things seem to happen on the weekend. You pretty much have to leapfrog holes ahead of the group and each hole has a couple nice locations to shoot depending on what you’re looking for. 18 green on sunday is a nightmare and seems to get worse every year, with photographers having to arrive at the crack of dawn to compete with patrons for the mad rush to place a chair down on the green. This could easily be avoided if they just had a rope two ropes set up in the front and the photographers had to sit down and shoot inside that shoot, but that would be too easy of course…

  2. I don’t believe you’re really going to Augusta, GA. You’re still at the airport drinking beer and writing this blog with some pictures from last year! Where do you sleep at the airport? I saw a movie like that once.

  3. Just an FYI, your Sports Shooter link is not valid… it’s missing an extra ‘s’ in the middle.

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