Photographers a Hazard on PGA Tour?

Thursday at the PGA’s Honda Classic, John Daly suffered a shoulder injury and had to drop out of the tournament when a photographer’s flash caused him to pull up awkwardly on his backswing.

The disruptive photographer was, in this case, a spectator. But the incident does highlight the ongoing battle between golfers and photographers — including professionals — on the PGA tour.

Craig Dolch recently wrote an interesting piece on this topic — quoting golfers who called pro photographers a “necessary evil” of the tour. An excerpt:

[Photographer Steve] Szurlej said the only problem he has had with a player was when Justin Leonard got upset at him once at Torrey Pines. Szurlej said he was walking behind the crowd at the green to get into a better position for the putt when Leonard’s caddy noticed him.

“Sometimes, caddies have rabbits’ ears,” Szurlej said. “They think they’re protecting their players, but they actually are calling the photographer to the player’s attention when he doesn’t see you at all. Any caddy that knows me is going to cut me a lot of slack, because I may move to the last minute, but I know when to freeze.”

Sure enough, Leonard missed the putt and Szurlej immediately knew the player was mad at him. He made it a point to try and see Leonard after the round to apologize, but Leonard already had left. A few months passed before Leonard saw Szurlej again, but time hadn’t healed the golfer’s wounds.

Read the full story here.

[tags]PGA, John Daly, sports photography, sports photographers, golf photographer, photography[/tags]

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