For the first time in the past couple of years professional golf returned to Miami, but it wasn’t your grandparents’ golf tour. It was LIV Golf and regardless of how you feel about who backs it or why the tour was created you couldn’t deny that the LIV Golf Team Championship brought the excitement and joy of professional golf back to the iconic Blue Monster at the Trump National Doral. As a sports photographer in South Florida, we’re spoiled with all the sporting events we get to cover on a regular basis.
Getting the opportunity to cover the LIV Golf Team Championship was a lot of fun. Also a lot of walking and I mean a lot. Not sure if it was my old age or that I was out of shape, but my legs were dead after covering each round. I’ll probably say it was a combination of the two.
I’ve been to quite a few golf tournaments in my time here in South Florida, but I’ve never been a part of a golf tour like this. While other tournaments feel stuffy and steeped in tradition, the LIV Golf tour bucked those traditions. How many golf tournaments have DJs playing music that you can hear throughout the entire course? Not to mention Snoop Dogg, Travis Scott, Nelly and others performing at night after the rounds concluded.
Aside from photographing amateur tournaments this was my first time covering professional golf. Coming to photograph the pro-am on Thursday helped me definitely get the lay of the land as far as the golf course goes. The fabled Blue Monster is literally a monster of a golf course.
I will say that it was easy to see who the popular players were as there was quite the crowd size difference between Phil Mickelson and say someone like Phachara Khonwatmai. For me shooting the less popular players was pretty convenient as there was never a big crowd around the players and getting clean shots was optimal.
Now with Phil, Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka there was a gaggle of other photographers, tv crews, overhead drones always with them. Not to mention the gallery following their every shot. Getting clean shots wasn’t as easy and if one of their shots went out of bounds the fans rushed around the ball as if they were trying to get in line first for the Wal-Mart Black Friday sale.
What made photographing the LIV Golf Team Championship enjoyable, besides the professional golf aspect, was that I was able to shoot with other photographers that I shoot with regularly whether its at MLB games or at Miami Hurricane games etc. such as Eric Espada, Al Diaz, Jasen Vinlove and Lynne Sladky. We’d walk the holes and just chit chat along the way. And it was also beneficial to see how other photographers who cover golf regularly to see how they shoot. It never hurts to get some new pointers along the way right?
The only downside was that even in October Miami is still a giant sweat box. That sun beamed down and I welcomed any shade a passing cloud could offer. Staying hydrated, like in every other sport here in Miami, is important. I was chugging as much water as I could because I would sweat it out in a heartbeat.
All in all I had a great time covering this event. Can’t wait for the opportunity to cover more golf. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for more photos from the Team Championship at the Blue Monster.