The 10 Most Memorable Images of Golf in 2012
The golf photographer has as his subject both the great drama of sport and the supreme beauty of nature. Historically, these two elements have come together to create some truly enduring images.
While none of the top 10 golf photos of 2012 are as iconic as the Ben Hogan One Iron at Merion or Nicklaus' final trip across the Swilcan Bridge, many compelling scenes of emotion and absurdity were captured on film in the past year.
Here's a selection of the 10 best.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Ángel Jiménez
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
The "most interesting golfer in the world," Miguel Ángel Jiménez celebrated his November victory at the UBS Hong Kong Open in customary fashion with a fine adult beverage and cigar.
The photo captures the trademark Jiménez joie de vivre. Miguel's knowing grin is as cool and relaxed as... well...the guy in the background's isn't.
Honorable Mention: Louis Oosthuizen with Fans at the Africa Open
Warren Little/Getty Images
The Louis Oosthuizen fanbase may be comparatively small, but the South African's supporters certainly are passionate. Oosthuizen hammed it up with a few of his faithful supporters after winning the Africa Open.
Louis' smile seems to be equal parts "I'm excited I just won" and "What the heck am I doing up here with these clowns?"
No. 10: T-Rex at the Australian PGA
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
The AP article on the silliness of Clive Palmer says it all: "The new owner of the Palmer Coolum Resort has erected a 26-foot mechanical T. rex between the ninth green and 10th tee, which flips its tail and opens its mouth for a menacing roar when anyone approaches."
No. 9: Tiger Woods at the Memorial Tournament
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The first vintage Tiger roar in years after Woods holed a 30-foot flop shot at the Memorial Tournament is captured perfectly in Andy Lyons' photograph.
No. 8: Brandt Snedeker at the Tour Championship
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Brandt Snedeker's exuberance after capturing the Tour Championship—and with it $10 million—is beautifully captured in Scott Halleran's photo.
Snedeker, normally quite reserved, is pictured in what is most likely the most animated state of his life.
No. 7: Rory McIlroy at the PGA Championship
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
After an eight-stroke victory at the PGA Championship this year, Rory McIlroy collapsed into the open arms of his father.
The image of their embrace is reminiscent of the multitude of photos of Tiger Woods hugging his own father after significant wins. Additionally, it shows the human response to a nearly superhuman victory.
No.6: Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
Hong Wu/Getty Images
The budding bromance between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy is indicated in this photo from their exhibition match at Jinsha Lake in China. The players stroll together in close proximity between shots (as they did for much of the match), both appearing relaxed and at ease.
Expect to see more of this in the coming years, the only difference being that Mr. McIlroy will be sporting the Swoosh rather than the Oakley "O."
No. 5: Bubba Watson at the Masters
David Cannon/Getty Images
Sure, there was the heroic, near-90-degree hook shot to put himself in position to win, but the enduring images of Bubba Watson's Masters victory are the golfer crying as he hugged his mother.
Cannon's photo shows Watson dwarfing his mother as they sort of blend together in their matching white outfits, sharing a few moments and emotions too powerful for words.
No. 4: The European Team at the Ryder Cup
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
If Jim Furyk dropping his putter in despair encapsulates the United States Ryder Cup team's experience on Sunday at Medinah, then this photo of the champagne-spraying European team exemplifies theirs.
Barely discernible behind the spray from numerous oversized Moet bottles, Misters Molinari, Poulter, McDowell and Rose are perfectly captured basking in the glory of their come-from-behind victory.
No. 3: Webb Simpson and the Jungle Bird
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Nothing compares to the video of this incident of public disturbance. However, environmental activist "Jungle Bird" swooping in to steal the show during Webb Simpson's U.S. Open victory speech is captured beautifully in this photo.
The Bird's vacant gaze into the distance in mid-bird call and Simpson's expression of confused amusement are priceless indications of the absurdity of a situation almost too bizarre for words.
No. 2: Adam Scott at the Open Championship
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
There are many great photos of Adam Scott as he let victory at the Open Championship slip through his fingers. This one, however, after Scott's putt to force a playoff went wide shows the golfer's reaction.
More resigned than rage-filled, Scott awkwardly clutches the long putter that betrayed him down the stretch, as a wave of numbness and too many emotions to catalogue washes over him.
No. 1: Jim Furyk at the Ryder Cup
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
It's painful to look at this photo of Furyk from the Ryder Cup, taken after he missed a critical putt on the 16th hole.
The image is poignant not only because it conveys the emotion of the moment—Furyk's own dashed hopes—but also because it perfectly encapsulates the U.S. team's Sunday performance: a heartbreaking, narrowly missed win.