The Loop

Fields: Photographers' Worst Day

April 12, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Before I turned into a full time golf writer I was lucky enough to photograph the Masters from 1985 to 1995. And on a nice day when some golfer pulls off a roar-worthy shot and provides a reaction to match, it makes me yearn a bit for those days when I was carrying a camera instead of a notebook.

But on a rainy day -- a storm just suspended play at Augusta National about a half-hour ago -- the nostalgia doesn't last long.

While it is no fun to shoot a tournament in searing heat, wet weather is the worst. While golf photographers benefit from lighter, more breathable rainwear just like golfers do, keeping cameras and lenses dry is still a pain. But it was even more of a chore before the advent of high-tech, waterproof covers for one's photo gear.

My memory of the final round of the 1989 Masters is that the rain hardly let up all day, and by the time Nick Faldo won a playoff over Scott Hoch, almost everybody had a camera go dead because of the unrelenting moisture. At least that day, for me, I didn't have a damp camera "freak out" the way I had one do to me on a soggy afternoon at the LPGA Championship one year, when it fired continuously while Laura Davies was over a tee shot and kept shooting until I scrambled away from the tee and pulled out the battery pack.

So when you see a good golf photograph taken on a rainy day, appreciate it.

-- Bill Fields