Tiger Woods came back to AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the first time in a decade this past week. As I write, Phil Mickelson saw an opening after third round leader Charlie Wi kicked around a few golf balls and Mickelson stormed ahead (much like Woods used to do) and won the tournament shooting a 64 Sunday.
On Thursday, several photogs, which included Pat Tehan and Nhat Meyer of the Mercury News, Robert Beck from Sports Illustrated, Robert Galbraith of Reuters, Mike Macor and Lance Iverson of the Chronicle and AP shooter Marcio J. Sanchez rounded out a dozen or more of us that toured 18 holes of Spyglass Hill with Tiger. Anyone who has ever walked Spyglass knows it’s a beautiful course but terribly vertical.
At least with 25 pounds of camera gear.
It’s no problem getting a sweat on; it takes about one fairway to do that. After an initial shock to the body, you settle in and photograph what unfolds. Pretty simple. Its golf.
As the day wore on, Tiger rarely smiled and made limited eye contact with spectators. I was feeling good about the images I was making and positive about not turning an ankle on the uneven surfaces. The day was clear and 75 degrees, the people were respectful and polite and the golfers gave the press no grief. On the 16th hole, I decided to head to the 17th tee box early (since Woods started on the 10th tee, it was really the 8th tee box). Dead tree fall debris was all around and made walking tricky. My pant leg snagged on a branch, and I performed a perfect Salisbury Flop. Saved the lenses and cameras though with just a scrape on the left knee. I really didn’t think much about the mishap. Golf scars they are.
Until this morning. Poison oak has slapped the left side of my face and left arm. The right bicep has a four inch angry red swath of sixteenth inch bumps. The left side of my neck is starting to itch too. Apparently there was a ton of poison oak where I fell. Would I do it again? You bet.
Valentines day is going to be tricky though.