|Tiger Woods at the 2010 Ryder Cup, by Mark Pain for the Daily Mail|
Wow, I thought, has that sex tape already been released?
In point of fact, it was a shot of Tiger at the 2010 Ryder Cup, and the blog that ran it did indeed day it was the "greatest golf photo you'll ever see."
I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree.
The picture is really an accident rather than a photograph. Tiger shanks his shot, and his ball hits the camera of photographer Mark Pain (you can't make this up) of the Daily Mail, who hits the shutter before the ball hits him. Let's all agree that the best thing about the non-moment moment is that guy on the right with the hat, mustache, and cigar.
Now look at the picture below, which a number of people have put forward as the greatest golf photo you'll ever see. It was made on the 18th tee of the final round of the 2001 Masters tournament by photographer Fred Vuich, and it famously ran on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week with only one cover line: "Masterpiece."
|Tiger Woods on the 18th tee of the 2001 Masters|
What do you think? Is there a better photograph of the game of golf?
There's one other aspect of Vuich's picture that is remarkable, though it's something we can see only from the perspective of 2010. Vuich made Tiger small in the frame and surrounded him with the serenity and stateliness of the Augusta National golf course. Tiger, we see now, was not bigger than the game.
Pain's painful shot only highlights the fall from the grace that Vuich captured in 2001. Tiger, with one Masters win under his belt when he entered the 2001 tournament, had already fulfilled his early promise of greatness and was well on his way to becoming legend. The legend has been rewritten, the perfect swing is gone. He shanked it.