On occasion Melbourne has been immersed in “Tigermania,” particularly when Tiger came to Melbourne for the JB Were Masters in 2010.
By chance I was up close and personal with it all on the Wednesday morning of the event when I was photographing the participants in the Pro-Am. This was a very different proposition to standing by myself watching the sun rise over a beautiful golf hole.
At 7.15am three amateurs lined up to play with Tiger in front of a bevy of TV and press photographers and a sizable crowd of spectators. Not as many as the first visit by Tiger the year before, but surely an intimidating gallery for a non-professional.
My task was simply to take a group shot of the players in each group. If Tiger’s playing partners were nervous I have to say that I shared some of their trepidation. I asked Tiger if he preferred to have the shot taken before or after they had played their tee-shots. The reply was a very pleasant “let’s do it now,” given with a disarming smile that took away my sense of nervousness.
Tiger and his playing partners on the first tee.
Most keen golfers would aspire to playing a game with Tiger, or one of the top professional golfers, but for Pro-Am players in front of large crowds it must be a daunting prospect. One guy in Tiger’s group managed to hit a spectator on the leg while playing the 3rd hole. The injured woman needed medical attention, and the amateur golfer had evidence of his golfing indiscretion featured on TV that evening and in newspapers the next day. It’s a stage that very few people are used to.Victoria Golf Club was the very first Sandbelt golf club I ever played. A friend at photography school was a member and invited me for a game. My golf was lacking finesse, in those days, (to say the least), and to tell the truth I didn’t really enjoy it. Put simply, it was just too difficult for a golfer of my standard. Happily I can say that nowadays my golf has improved and a game at Victoria is something to savour. Watching the pros at The Masters that week showed just how one should play the course, even if most of us can still only dream of hitting the ball the way they do.