Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item

 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Classified Ads
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions

Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.



|| News Item: Posted 2002-07-02

Monsoon, Haagen-Dazs and New Yorkers:
Covering the U.S. Open

By Vincent Laforet, The New York Times

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Tiger Woods acknowledging the gallerys cheers after winning the US Open golf tournament after sunset.
Gather a hundred of your fellow Sports Shooters - who needless to say - haven't been close to a treadmill since the dawn of auto focus.

Load them down with walkie-talkies, cell phone ear-cords, water bottles, and the ever-necessary 9th hole snack.

Tell them to pull out their loosest fitting shorts so the crowd can have some of the most amazing vistas of their butt-cracks, and some of the ugliest golf-shoes you've ever seen.

Put them in front of an inebriated, and arguably the most foul-mouthed golfing crowd you've ever heard. (Oh and did I mention - they're mostly New Yorkers… the spectators AND the photographers.)

Ask them to trot alongside Tiger Woods, and a finger-flipping Sergio Garcia (he gave the high-class crowd the "bird" more than once - with comments such as: "Hey Tiger, how's the diarrhea." and "Hey Sergio - I
Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

A cool page taking advantage of the compression of a 500mm plus a 2X converter - leading to a 1300mm on a EOS 1-D.
love Martina's ass!" I don't blame him.

Put them on a course, which to them, Is the equivalent of a "Survivor" challenge, due to the never-ending-steep hills, and bunkers that extend well outside of the ropes.

Have them refuse to try out the new Canon 400mm f4 ligther-than-a-300mm lens - and insist they lug around close to 30 pounds of gear.

Insert some of the most obnoxious and arrogant television crews you've ever seen.

Tantalize them to stay off the course altogether with a never-ending supply of Haagen-Dazs ice cream bars in the media tent along with half-a-dozen or so big-screen TVs displaying the Clemens vs. Piazza showdown Part Deux.

Ask them to maintain decorum on a course that is longer than they have collectively walked in the past week - about the length of Manhattan - 7 miles.

Allow for absolutely no public or press parking on the site - instead try to have your friendly troopers share the seat next to them on the media shuttle during the 45-minute to and from the media-hotels.

Do this for fours days straight.

Oh and - I almost forgot - have a monsoon occur in the middle of it. (At one point I picked up my 35~350mm zoom lens to find what looked like an aquarium behind the first elements.)

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

A tired Mike Segar of Reuters and Ron Antonelli of the NY Daily News on the third day at the first hole of Tigermania.
This, my friends, is the recipe for the 2002 U.S. Open in Beth Page.

It was fun - really. I actually enjoyed the majority of it.

Most of my colleagues and I had finished photographing the J.V. squad's scrimmage against the Varsity - a.k.a. the Nets v. Lakers NBA Finals - at 2 a.m. the morning prior to the start of the golf tournament. We were lucky enough to catch a few hours of sleep before the first tee off.

Tiger Woods quickly became the center of attention - more than 8 papers, 3 wire services, and at least than two dozen other photographers followed his every move. Covering Woods feels like being on a White House rotation - you feel the stress of not being able to put your guard down for a second. One missed putt or errant tee-off and you could easily miss the picture of the day. If Tiger sneezed - we were on it.

It wasn't easy on the crowd either. They would stake out a spot for an hour and have the misfortune of having Tiger's shot land somewhere near them - only to find a dozen or so photographers and reporters rushing their way.

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Rain on last day of tournament - causing close to a one-hour delay and pushing the final putt past 9 p.m.
TV as usual only made things more challenging. They would inevitably plot down their tripod legs to set up as late a possible - right in front of the crowd and us. Kneeling was out of the question. And of course each camera operator had an entourage that included a lackey with a transmission pole, a state trooper, AND a PGA representative.

And might I note their charm in attempting to ruin our shot and the view of the fans.

"Hey - we've been waiting here for over an hour," cried out one of the fans. "We had a great view from here!"
"I guess not anymore," replied the camera guy - coldly and loudly enough for the entire gallery to hear.

One PGA TV Marshal didn't seem to care much about still photography either.

"They don't matter - don't pay any attention to them," he said to the camera crew.

We protested and he answered, " Sorry guys - they have a much larger audience than any of you guys do."

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

Photo by Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

The crowd looks over Tiger Woods' shot on the 17th green.
"I guess none of them can read!" I replied.

Television did inadvertently do one nice thing for us however -thanks to the late TV start on the final day and a small rain delay, Tiger approached the 18th green as night set in. A series of strobes went off as he sank his last putt - making for some beautiful pictures if you were lucky enough to freeze someone else's beam of light.

In the end - It was great to see Tiger play from up close. The rain, long hours, and challenges we faced only made it sweeter to get a good image of him on disk. He's obviously one of the most dominant players of our time in any sport. And it is an honor just to be there. Let's hope for a shot at the Grand Slam in Minnesota eh!?

(Vincent Laforet is a staff photographer with the New York Times. He is a frequent contributor to Sports Shooter.)

Contents copyright 2020, Do not republish without permission.
What's in YOUR bottom band? ::..