Posts Tagged ‘national


2010 Masters in the can.

It’s done. Finished. Finito. I ate my last Masters Club sandwich smuggled out of the press center.  Do you think it had gone bad?  Probably.  But it was oh so good.  And I’m not sick yet, so…

The 2010 Masters was fantastic and had a little something for everyone.  From the overdramatized Tiger return story, to a true family guy persevering to take a convincing win.

This was the first Masters that I’ve seen where the eventual winner didn’t win because everyone else around him fell apart, kind of “the guy who sucked least.”  No, this year, it was more of a classic Masters tournament, the kind I’d heard about, where great golfers pull out great golf shots and make runs for the lead.  It was exciting.

With so many great golf shots, came great photo shots as well, from our Chronicle staff.  Mickelson’s eagle heard around the world on 14 was captured by Corey and the sequence ran on the front page the next day. I’m pretty sure we were the only publication to have that picture.  Zach had a good shot from Monday when Tiger, Couples and Furyk skipped their balls across the water on 16 during their practice round (a family tradition!) And from Sunday, we had Phil’s winning reaction covered from all angles on 18.  Jackie had a nice frame of him raising his arms with the crowd in focus behind him and him out of focus.  She says she didn’t do it on purpose and that it was the autofocus going in and out, but I think she’s being a bit modest.  It’s a different look on a nice moment.  Here’s my take on the same moment in time:

Phil Mickelson wins the 2010 Masters with a birdie putt on 18 during the final round of the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 11, 2010. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

The Masters really brings out the golf-liker (lover’s too strong of a word) in me.  I watch highlights from the tournaments leading up to the April major, just to get myself back into the swing of things (so to speak).  I also found myself sneaking a few peeks at the PGA tournament at Hilton Head this weekend, a week after the Masters.  Call it a residual effect.

But it’s easy to understand why we (photogs) love Masters week so much.  Best example comes from this Masters Sunday breakfast in the Clubhouse restaurant, paid for by the Chronicle.  Not that the food’s really that great, but the hashbrowns taste just that much better when you can look out through the big oak tree from the second floor dining room and see thousands of people in their Sunday best, watching the biggest names in golf tee off in the greatest golf event in the world.  It’s special.

Below is our traditional Masters group photo in front of the scoreboard.  We all look noticeably warmer than in previous years.

The Augusta Chronicle photo staff group photo at the Masters. From left, Mike Holahan, Corey Perrine, editor Sean Moores, Jackie Ricciardi, Rainier Ehrhardt, Zach Boyden-Holmes, Dede Smith, from our sister paper in Jacksonville, Fla., and bossman John Curry.



Masters Preview Friday: Fun in the Sun

I had today off in exchange for working this coming Sunday where the main priority will be to catch (you guessed it) Tiger if he arrives early to register and to hit a few balls on the driving range. 

Therefore, I didn’t have access to any of our old Masters photos, but I did have this “fun” pic of fellow Chronicle staffer Michael Holahan taken during a break in the action last year on 18 green.   Way to go goof ball.

Augusta Chronicle staff photographer makes a face as he waits for golfers to make their way up to the 18th green during the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National, Sunday, April 12, 2009, in Augusta, Ga. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

But that’s what the Masters is all about to me.  Extremely long hours mixed with moments of fun and excitement.  This would be one of those fun moments.  We have radios to keep in touch with each other (photogs and editors) so we can coordinate coverage over the expansive course.  But sometimes we use the radios to make fun of each other or to make jokes. 

In the case of this photo, I shot a few frames of Mike while he was unaware of me, but then I came on the radio to tell him he’d been spotted.  He finally found me and made a face.  This is that face. 

Oh, and the egg salad sandwiches and ice cold chocolate milk are to die for.  If that’s your kind of thing, of course…



Masters Preview Thursday: The beauty

Tim Clark hits his approach shot on No. 2 during the first round of the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday, April 9, 2009. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

The beauty of the Augusta National is often talked about and well documented but nothing prepares you for actually seeing the real thing.  The prestine greens, perfect flowers, everything is where is should be.  It’s exactly what you imagine, only they made it cooler. 

When people find out I cover the Masters, they always ask what its like.  I always tell them two things.  1- It’s as beautiful as you think; the National does everything exactly right, or they don’t do it at all.  2-Setting foot on the course is like stepping back in time.  Tradition is king.  Very little changes from year to year at the Tournament.  The only changes I’ve noticed in four Masters are that the fairway cross guards no longer wear yellow hard hats (ok, maybe that one wasn’t such a good decision to begin with…) and this year, the practice facilities have been built from the ground up on the old press parking lot (thanks!).  The fact that there are 60-foot pine trees sitting in what was a gravel lot 10 months ago says it all.

The above image is soothing to me.  It brings back mental images of how the light dances around the valleys and hills that make up the National.  Television doesn’t do the elevation changes justice.  And the trees lining most of the fairways are simply amazing.  At any point in the day, you can find a hole that has really graphic-looking shadows making for something interesting. 
We don’t typically use fairway approach pictures very often, and to be honest, I’m not even sure this ran in the paper but looking at it does the same thing to my brain as eating chocolate does.  It’s simply pleasing to the eye.

Some people say it’s hard to take a bad picture at the Masters.  I look at it more like it’s hard to take a picture that is good enough and conveys the beauty that is the Augusta National.



Masters Preview Wednesday: Great Expectations

Tiger Woods throws his club after his shot from the 18th fairway lands in the gallery during the first round of the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club Thursday April 9, 2009. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

Before you roll your eyes, yes that’s a photo of Tiger Woods.  And aside from the complete cluster that will be the Monday of his return, he will be feeling the pressure to “perform” at the Masters despite the distractions.  But as different as this time around will be, it will actually be more like recent years than you’d think.

Every year, The Masters Tournament is Tiger’s to lose.  Everyone still agrees he’s the best golfer, and he’s done very well here in the past.  So it stands to reason that he will eventually win again.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Tiger has not won in my three years covering the Masters.  Therefore my photographic perception of him is skewed toward a club tossing, tantrum throwing and ugly face making Tiger Woods.  Not the fist pumping, joyous outburst version I’ve heard about from colleagues.  Granted, every year he’s been pretty close, and if he were a guy like Shingo Katayama, he’d be happy for a good showing, and recognize that the golf course clearly beat him that day.  But ending up in the top 5 or 10 to Tiger just means he lost a little slower than those who finished behind him.  It’s win or lose for him, especially at the Augusta National.

Every April is Tiger Watch.  People are drawn to him for a multitude of reasons, and we’re there to capture that.

But no matter how you look at it, a good photo of Tiger celebrating victory will always trump a good photo of Tiger losing it on Masters Sunday.  Because nobody likes a loser.



Tiger, Tiger, Woods Y’all

Tiger Woods waits to putt on No. 18 during the first round of the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday, April 9, 2009. RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF

Yeah yeah yeah, by now we all know he’s coming back to golf, and he’s chosen my backyard to do it.  But regardless whether or not you think he deserves all the media hype, or the American people’s short term memory treatment, the greatest golfer of the modern era is going to compete in his 16th Masters in less than a month.

Tiger hasn’t won at the Masters since I’ve been a staffer at the Augusta Chronicle, but come every April, sports writers everywhere talk about whether or not this is “the year” for him to win, almost like it’s a matter of when, and not if.  And seeing as the British-based bookie William Hill has the odds at 5-1 that Tiger will come back from four months off, deflect every personal question directed toward him and somehow block out the massive crowd following his every move on and off the Augusta National, to win his fifth Masters, I’d say it’s starting again.

And as for the media hoopla, time will tell.  But I’m already hearing of freelance photographers getting gigs just to cover the media presence around the National (since it’s the next best thing you can do when you’re not credentialed.)  Think of it as paparazzi-ing the paparazzi.  I’m just fortunate I’ll be inside the sanctity of Magnolia Drive and not on the outside looking in.  Tigerpalooza 2010 has officially started.