Photos of the Year
PGA TOUR photographers highlight their favorite 2016 images
December 16, 2016
By Keyur Khamar, PGATOUR.COM
- Clockwise, from top left, photos by PGA TOUR Photographers Stan Badz, Chris Condon, Ryan Young and PGATOUR.COM Photo Editor Keyur Khamar, who walk us through their favorite images captured in 2016. (All photos by PGA TOUR)
Stan Badz, PGA TOUR Staff Photographer (SB): You can always depend on Tiger Woods to create a variety of photo opportunities during his round. This image of Tiger hitting out of the tall grass at the Hero World Challenge is one of my favorite photos of his tournament in the Bahamas.
Chris Condon, PGA TOUR Staff Photographer (CC): Any Jason Day victory is usually capped off by his son Dash running out to the green to be the first to give dad a congratulatory hug. The 2016 PLAYERS Championship was no different. I love this moment between father and son, as well as the light and clean background.
Ryan Young, PGA TOUR Staff Photographer (RY): This was taken as Stephan Jaeger was about to sign his scorecard after shooting the first ever 58 in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. His expression says it all to me. I like to imagine it's half relief, half exhaustion, and half "holy crap, did I really just do that?"
Keyur Khamar, PGATOUR.COM Photo Editor (KK): Dustin Johnson is the most stoic player in the game, making it generally impossible to get a true celebration photo of him. Thanks to the little man in the insert, golf photographers can rejoice. It'll be even more interesting when Tatum is 6’5” and still getting picked up by dad in the winner’s circle.
SB: Rory Mcllroy didn’t hold back after making his playoff putt to win the TOUR Championship and FedExCup at East Lake. Truly, "these guys are good," and they give up some pretty great moments to photograph.
CC: I was waiting with Rickie Fowler backstage during the Dell Match Play Bracket Special that was broadcast live on the Golf Channnel. I saw the light spilling off the stage perfectly onto his face, and managed to get a few frames before they called him out.
RY: Fun fact: Rocco Mediate and Lee Janzen were teammates on the Florida Southern College golf team in the mid-80s. I love that all these years later these guys are out here on the PGA TOUR Champions still goofing around with each other like a couple of 20-year-old college kids.
KK: One of my favorite things to do at tournaments is to capture the “Goodnight from…” photo. I wanted to do something extra special on our home course this year, so I set up over two nights to shoot star trails over one of golf’s most iconic holes. Key takeaways: Golf courses are super creepy at night, and make sure you learn the sprinkler schedule in advance so you aren’t left dead-sprinting to save your gear.
SB: I’ve photographed the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass for the last 24 years and it’s still one of my favorite golf holes to take pictures of.
CC: During the Memorial I always try to spend a little time with tournament host Jack Nicklaus. He graciously allows me to follow him around and document his busy day. We had a little downtime between appointments here, so he took care of signing a few flags for sponsors in the locker room.
RY: I love anything that puts a golf course or tournament in the context of the larger world outside like the planes that fly over Royal Troon, the rail line that runs alongside Chambers Bay, or these large cargo ships that occasionally drift past the Sea Island Resort's Seaside Course during The RSM Classic. Especially when the cargo ships are so aptly named.
KK: Maybe it was the cold, whipping wind, or maybe it was the sheer beauty of it all, but I was wiping away tears as I shot the sun dipping over the water at 10pm during my first links course experience at Royal Troon. Bonus: If you look closely, you’ll see Keegan and his crew just before they snuck into the scoreboard for a better vantage point.
SB: Dustin Johnson was named the 2016 PGA TOUR Player of the Year after picking up his first major victory and two other big wins in the season. Photographing a lot of the TOUR players over the years has given me the opportunity to feature their personal accomplishments though my photography.
CC: Any time I get to fly on a MetLife airship, it's a great day at the office. The vantage point is amazing and it's such a cool ride. This was taken over Miami. Most people have never seen the cockpit of a blimp, it's not very spacious!
RY: This is the concept art for my golf-centric reboot of The Magnificent Seven. Keep your eyes peeled for it come Oscar season 2018.
KK: How can you not root for Phil at the U.S. Open? As light was fading and poking through the clouds on the eve of competition, just one player in the field was on the course: Lefty. He even stuck around for 30 minutes afterward to sign autographs for his dedicated fans. Fun fact: Did you know that Phil signs, and is, a righty?
SB: Photographing the 2016 Rio Olympics was one of my all-time dream assignments. This was my view of the opening ceremonies featuring Brazilian music and dancing accompanied by fireworks.
CC: The 2016 Rio Summer Olympic games in Rio were full of firsts. It was my first time covering the Olympics, my first time in Brazil and the first time golf was back in the games since 1904. The opening ceremony was spectacular despite having to be in my seat 4 hours before the show began, and then having a bunch of fans show up two minutes before showtime with tickets to the seats in our reserved media section! Everything worked itself out, and the show was amazing.
RY: This was a long exposure taken of the 18th hole at TPC Boston during the twilight hour the night before tournament play started. I still have no idea what caused the sky to look like that, but if I had to make one guess it would be aliens. (At publication time, PGATOUR.COM could not verify reports of alien sightings)
KK: Gray skies and rain ruin the golf experience for players, fans, and of course, photographers. Sometimes, just sometimes, the clouds part like they did at Crooked Stick and make for one of the coolest, Armageddon-y sunsets I’ve ever captured. Or, as Ryan suggested, there were extraterrestrial forces at work.
SB: Justin Rose of Team Great Britain celebrated his clutch winning putt on the 72nd hole in Rio to win gold for his country. Justin is always a treat to photograph and one of the nicest guys on tour.
CC: There was no doubt that the Team USA golfers were going to make the most of their Olympic experience. Bubba Watson was all smiles as he got silly and posed for me during a practice round. I'm thinking that sign would be a nice addition to one of their trophy rooms!
RY: Bernhard Langer, a man amongst the people. He's just like you and me, except he's won 1,000 tournaments and hasn't finished outside the top-15 in an event since before planking was a thing.
KK: That feeling when it’s finally yours. Or, the face that Gollum makes when he sees the ring around Frodo's neck. Henrik is one of the best ball strikers in the game, but had never recorded a major victory. That all changed this year at The Open Championship in record-setting fashion, and his look tells it all. Well won, Henrik.
SB: I was invited to accompany Justin Rose on his media tour in Rio after his gold medal victory. This old doorway on the grounds at the Great Britain house made for the perfect casual portrait.
CC: The Monday after the Men's golf competition ended, the Team USA guys made a quick visit to the Today show set on Ipanema Beach. As we were walking off the set, Rickie grabbed a quick selfie with the hosts Hoda Kotb, Matt Lauer and Al Roker.
RY: This was from the marathon playoff at the TOUR Championship at East Lake. One of the big talking points this year was how the tournament had flipped the nines, which I'm all for since it gives us this view coming down the stretch on the now 18th hole. Also, this was one of the best shots I've ever seen given the circumstances. 211 yards to 6 feet. I'm guessing that's a stock gap wedge for Rors.
KK: A New Yorker at heart, it’s always exciting to experience the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs take over the sports scene in the northeast. To see the city’s most iconic building in FedEx colors this year was a special treat. Plus, I got to be a tourist for a night in NYC, which, along with most things, is frowned upon by New Yorkers.
SB: Billy Horschel (R) reacts as Camilo Villegas (L) consoles him after missing his short putt to get knocked out of first playoff hole during the final round of The RSM Classic. It was nice to capture this scene of fellow competitors acting like gentlemen in the heat of the moment.
CC: I was in New York to cover the 2017 Presidents Cup captains announcement. Afterward, we took captains Stricker and Price to a few locations around the city for photos and video with the Cup. We were at the Freedom Tower and by chance stopped into the FDNY Engine 10 and Ladder 10 house. New York's Bravest took some time to show us around and then posed for photos with the captains.
RY: More from the playoff at the TOUR Championship. Rory had pulled his drive way left on the second playoff hole and had to punch out from amongst the gallery. I just love studying each fan's reaction as they watch McIlroy's shot.
KK: Media access is often limited at big events, so I had to get a little creative during the afternoon matches on Friday at Hazeltine as I was eight rows back in the crowd. I lined up behind some European Union flag-bearing fans, and put my focus on Rory as he sank his eagle putt to win his match and took a bow to silence the crowd. "Are you not entertained?" Unreal match, unreal moment.
SB: Rory Mcllroy plays a fairway shot at sunset during the final playoff before clinching the TOUR Championship and FedExCup. Sometimes walking behind the action pays off with a beautiful silhouette.
CC: My final tournament of the year was the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Bernhard Langer wrapped up another strong season and won his third consecutive Cup. Tiffany and Co. Master Engraver Tim Murphy etches Langer's name in the cup in the media center after the closing ceremony.
RY: Rory finally pulled away on the fourth playoff hole at the TOUR Championship with a monster birdie putt to defeat Ryan Moore. Sometimes, even in victory, golfers can be a stoic bunch. When that final putt dropped, Rory really let loose and it was great to see just how much winning both the FedExCup and the tournament meant to him. (On a technical photographic note: dat light tho)
KK: Golf’s loudest putt this year wasn’t made by a guy named Rory, Dustin or Jason. It was made by David Johnson of North Dakota after he was pulled out of the audience at the Ryder Cup by Team Europe’s Stenson and Rose. The roar as he sunk the putt in front of a very pro-USA crowd was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Bonus: He picked up $100 from Henrik for sinking the putt, and got to heckle Colbert on a live show.
SB: Country music singer Vince Gill performed during the Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Arnold Palmer at Saint Vincent Basilica in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Gill shared a touching story with the audience about his friend Arnold Palmer.
CC: I spent two days at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year covering Mr. Palmer as he rode around Bay Hill with his wife Kit. He followed his grandson Sam Saunders on Thursday and Friday, as well as spent time greeting players on the range and around the course. He will be missed by so many, including me. Arnold was the first sports hero I ever had, and I am lucky to have known him personally. We will all miss this sight of a smiling Arnie riding around his Kingdom of Bay Hill.
RY: It's not often that you get two pieces of hardware at the end of the day. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This text is not truncated, Ryan just ran out of witty things to say)
KK: After three straight losses, Team USA was in need of a big win, and got it done. Patrick Reed is a fiery player on the course, but Ryder Cup Reed is an entirely different beast. The stands on 18 were packed with loud fans, but I heard Patrick’s roar over them as he put the first point for Team USA on the board in Sunday’s Singles Matches against Rory. To watch a future captain lead the celebration was a fitting end to the craziest week of golf I've ever experienced.