Getty Images Golf by the Sea

June 21, 2008 | By Scott Halleran | Sport

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Team Getty Images

The U.S. Open golf was held just north of San Diego the second week of July and the Getty Images golf crew headed west for the week. A group of six photographers, three editors and four runners will cover the year’s second major at the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

The week started with a celebrity made-for-TV round on the Friday before the start of the event featuring the Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo, Justin Timberlake, NBC’s Matt Lauer and amateur John Atkinson who was selected by Golf Digest. The goal was for all 4 players to break 100 on the Torrey Pines course playing the course from the same tees as the pro the following week. Both Romo and Timberlake managed to break 100 with Lauer and Atkinson shooting far more.

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LA JOLLA, CA – JUNE 06: Justin Timberlake walks off the first tee with his caddie Butch Harmon during the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at the Torrey Pines Golf Course on June 6, 2008 in La Jolla, California. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The balance of the team started arriving on Sunday from all points. Ross Kinnaird from Leicester England, Harry & Rebecca How alongside Jeff Gross from LA, Donald Miralle from Carlsbad and Doug Pensinger from Denver. Travis Lindquist and myself set up our trailer behind the press center and made the coverage plans each day. We stumbled upon a rather nice house that will house our team for the week just south of the course. This will allow us to avoid the southern California freeways for the most part. Our pictures this week will be used on numerous websites, magazine and newspapers all over the world. We will also do work for several golf companies throughout the week.

Monday morning starts with Kinnaird, Lindquist and Halleran chasing Tiger Woods and company around the oceanside course. We meet back at the trailer and send pictures of Woods and a few players from Europe to the papers there which are 8 hours ahead. The fact that the event is on the west coast will prove to be a bit of a challenge all week long.

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Here are the editors, hard at work, sending our pictures around the world in record time.

Tuesday and Wednesday we will file pictures of the top players as well as a good selection of players from the European Tour. The media and fans are all excited about the fact that Tiger will play with Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott the first two rounds. We also decide who will stay and cover the playoff on Monday, should it happen.

The first day gets off the ground with a large horde of fans and media following this marquee threesome. We files pictures after every few holes of them and for awhile it seems that they are the only players on the golf course. It is a long hectic day and we file over 500 images from the first days play. ESPN also uses a selection of our images in a montage during their televison coverage the first two days.

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Our runners stay on the course with our photographers and after every few holes, they run our cards into the editors. This allows us photographers to stay on the course and not miss any of the action while our customers are getting the images as quickly as possible.

We arrive at the course on Friday and set out to chase the first round leader. Kevin Streelman gets off to a very rocky start and we pass him off to chase other players.

The Woods/Mickelson circus get underway in the afternoon and we can see the fans start streaming towards the tenth hole in the early morning. Woods is battling his sore left knee just weeks after his surgery. This starts to become a big story as he battles the course, the other 155 players and his body.

We get a bit more sleep on Saturday morning as the field is cut to 80 players. We arrive at the course just before 9 and get to work chasing the players from Europe. Tiger gets even even more sleep as he does not play until nearly 3pm. We also get a bit of pictures for our Rolex client around the course that morning for a book they will produce as well as pictures of the Golf Channel talent working at the event. The golf will end at 10pm on the east coast, so we have to keep an eye on the deadlines for not only websites but Sunday papers. Tiger battles his way to a one shot lead and will be paired with Lee Westwood of England the following day. Ross cannot wait to see his countryman attempt to win his first major. I head off at 6pm to shoot the Golf Channel set. I get lucky and catch a great sunset behind the set and the ocean looks great behind them. We have a little gathering of other snappers at our house that night and watch the highlights of Woods and his eagles on 13 and 18.

The final day arrives and we learn that Ross and Travis will get a chance to play the course just past noon on Monday. At breakfast we joke about needing the extra meal ticket that is located in the back of our ticket booklet is a Monday playoff happens. We set up a series of remote cameras around the 18th green for later. The players in the final group get off to a very rocky start and they let a few other players make up some shots. More and more Tiger is hurting and the pain is obvious on his face as he attempts to win his 14th major at Torrey Pines. He and Westwood are playing just ahead of Rocco Mediate who is trying to become the oldest player to win the event. Mediate looks very steady on the back nine and he finishes one shot ahead of Woods and Westwood at the time. Both players need to make birdie on the 18th hole to join Mediate on Monday for an 18-hole playoff. They each find a fairway bunker and chances for birdie look slim. Westwood hits a shot to 20 feet and misses his birdie. Woods curls in his 18 footer and celebrates like only he can.

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SAN DIEGO – JUNE 15: Tiger Woods reacts to his birdie putt on the 18th green to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate during the final round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 15, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO – JUNE 15: Tiger Woods reacts to his birdie putt on the 18th green to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate during the final round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 15, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The three of us cannot wait to see the cards and we send out a large selection of pictures from this moment. Our captioning software allows us to get this set out very quickly. We leave the course talking about all the big moments that Tiger has provided us over the years.

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SAN DIEGO – JUNE 16: Tiger Woods stands with runner-up Rocco Mediate after winning on the first sudden death playoff hole during the playoff round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 16, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Doug, Jeff and Ross cover the golf and Travis collects cards and files the early sets of pictures on Monday. Woods once again needs to birdie the 18th to stay alive and he defeats Rocco on the 19th hole. We get one of the first looks at the daughter of Tiger and Elin at the trophy ceremony. Jeff gets the front page of the NY Times the next day as well as a Nike ad from the big putt. Doug has the cover of Golfweek and Travis gets a front page with Tiger and his daughter to name a few spots. Not a bad week at the office.

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