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|| News Item: Posted 2001-04-30

Covering The Masters: Tradition, Tiger and Turkeys
By Jeff Haynes, AFP

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP
This was number nine in a row for me, and that is a small number compared to a lot of photographers covering the Masters. I keep wondering why is it that every year the first week in April is always one of the best and worst weeks of the year.

When most photographers hear about the Master they cringe. I am asked questions like: "How do you cover a golf tournament outside the ropes?"

I can say it is not the way we would prefer to shoot a golf tournament but, it is their show and we are "invited" to cover one of the best sporting events in the world. But only by their rules and the main rule at the Masters is no still photographers inside the ropes.

I say "still" photographers because about four, maybe five years ago the Directors in the "Green Jackets" decided (with a lot of persuading from the folks at CBS) to allow hand-held cameras inside the ropes for that most important shot of golfers ... from behind. Something we all deal with at every other tournament.

And now at the most beautiful place on earth for a golfer (which I used to be good at) and the hardest place to photograph, you now find a TV hand-held in your background.

They are not allowed to walk with the golfers but they are often in the background of those pretty scene-setting photos with the long beautiful fairway, azaleas in the background, you get the point.

But like everything else we cover, money talks and remember we don't pay a cent to be there just as we don't at the NBA Finals, Final Four, World Series, I can go on and on, as all of us know. Beside those two things and the occasional "patron", a fan to the rest of the sporting world, that doesn't want to let you get into a spot and work, the Masters is the best place to cover a tournament. All the great free food is not one of the perks of this event.

Enough of the bitching (lots more where that came from...everyday some photographer has a new story about the Masters) the one thing I can say about the covering the Masters is that it's a team effort and I mean team. You can go all week without making any pictures just because they don't happen where you are positioned or a patron will stand up in front of you.

My good friend Gary Hershorn, of Reuters and I can tell you about a sunny Sunday afternoon on the 15th hole where we watched "The Shark" roll around on the ground like a fish out of water when his chip shot rimmed the cup and the fans in front of us jumped up and down waving their arms preventing us from making our shots.

But everyone who has covered the Masters has stories like that. You know the fish or should I say the "Shark" that got away. I will tell you it is the one place you have to rely on your co-workers and be happy that someone, anyone that works for your company got the picture.

Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP

Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP
I was lucky enough to work this year with three of the best our company has to offer Tim Clary and Roberto Schmidt, with Bob Sullivan inside looking at all of those disks. Roberto, Tim and I have worked one other time together at the Masters and knowing the course is a key to covering this tournament.

But as I said to "rookie photographers" covering their first Masters, like AP's Doug Mills and Al Tielemans of Sports Illustrated, two very non-rookie photographers "You must rely on your film runner because they know more than you do about this course."

At AFP we have two guys who are the best in the business, former Augusta College soccer players who have been running film and now disks for over ten years. They even know where to go to hold spots for us at the next hole. Even though they are getting long in the tooth for runners, Roberto, Tim and I don't know what we would do without these two guys.

Tim draws the lucky straw to cover Tiger Woods and Robert and I try to catch all the others, especially those foreign golfers we need to cover. Tiger made it easy for us that week and for everyone covering the upcoming US Open in June. It is a Tiger story.

"Tiger plays well" or "Tiger plays bad" and the rest of the golfers are just a whole bunch of inside photos. So when Tiger is on the course most of your attention is on him. This is where the team effort comes into play. Tim tries to cover Tiger as the Roberto and I leap frog each other getting into positions that are the most crowded with patrons to help cover Tiger.

With only three photographers (that is all they invite from AFP) this systems seems to work best for us. The one thing that every wire service needs is an on-course coordinator. The guy who is always watching the scoreboard, who knows where his other photographers are and what is important to cover.

Gary Hershorn does this job for Reuters while Dave Martin takes on those duties for the AP and I handle it for AFP. It's like an air traffic controller: making sure everything is covered, knowing when and where to send someone when they post a player on the leader board that has just made three birdies in a row and also knowing where to tell them to find that player.

(A little side note: If the players knew how many times we all have sent someone to find that one guy who just made three or four birdies in a row and then as soon as we all show up to take his picture, BOGIE, DOUBLE BOGIE. It always happens!)

The last thing I'll say about covering the Masters is Sunday. Placing of the chairs on the 18th green takes place at 8:00 in the morning after waiting for two hours, watching the sunrise. It can be the fastest "walk" you have ever seen, by photographer, patrons and others!

Photo by Jeff Haynes/AFP

Photo by Jeff Haynes/AFP
Since we can't be inside the ropes we have to place chairs in the front row along the green. It is a tradition that I feel will soon be over, but I'll just leave it at that. The one thing I cannot comment on is what it is like during a p * * * * f, the one word no one likes to hear, but from what I understand it is a mad dash, walk, to the 10th green as the sun sets.

I hope my streak continues at ten years and no playoff --- oh no I said that word again!

And as always, the Masters, like most other places comes down to one photo and you hope the company you work for has that one or it will be a long year until next April 1st.

Every year you hear the same people that said last year "I'm never coming back" ... but something always draws us back to the Masters. No one can explain it but it's a bug and once you have been bitten, it is hard to get rid of it.

* * *

I was also asked to write about a two-year tradition we started among the wire service photographers: the "Turkey Deep Fry". AFP started staying at a private home about six years ago to avoid the high cost of hotel rooms and the long lines at local restaurants.

Bob Sullivan and I are the chefs for the house that we share with our reporters for a total of six hungry mouths. The menu is often the same each year; Huge Porter House Steaks on Sunday night, Grilled Caribbean Jerk marinated pork chops, Hawaiian Grilled Chickens, Beef Tenderloins grill to perfection, Huge Shrimp wrapped in Bacon, without for the Catholics in the house on Good Friday.

And then there is Wednesday night, Deep Fried Turkey's. Dave Martin told us how good turkey is prepared this way and we had to try it. So a couple years ago David Ake from the AP bought the turkey fryer, we at AFP provided the house and the turkeys and a tradition was started.

I'm not sure if many of you have heard about turkeys cooked this way, but it is catching on fast. We had two vegetarians eating more meat than they had in years, along with Gene Blithe from Atlanta AP eating his "own turkey" for the second year in a row. It is the best!

Photo by
Bob Sullivan was in charge of the cooking of the four turkeys, which take about 45 minutes a piece. Another great job done by Sully!

I was asked to reveal our recipe and secrets:

First and most important don't let Dave Martin put the turkeys in the fryer. That is a whole different story.

You need to get a FRESH not frozen turkey about 13 to 14 lbs. and use Chef Williams Cajun Injectors (Creole Garlic Recipe is my personal favorite). Inject the turkey with a huge needle (they comes with the marinade) everyplace the bird has any type of meat, the legs, thighs, and breasts.

Rub salt, pepper, and lots of Lawry's seasoning salt on the outside so the turkey looks orange (don't add garlic powder to the outside it will turn the turkey black and people might not like the way it looks, but it tastes great).

Put the turkey into the special deep fryer containing Peanut Oil, at a temperature of 375 degrees. After the turkey is added the oil temperature will drop to 350 degrees. You must watch the temperature and keep it at 350 degrees (very important). Check it every ten minutes or so. Cooks the turkey for three and half minutes per pound. I guarantee this is it the best Turkey you will ever have, even better than grandma's on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks for listening and "EAT MORE TURKEY"

(Jeff Haynes is the Chicago Bureau Chief for Photos for Agence France-Presse.)

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