After four majors, one Ryder Cup, countless other tournaments and hundreds of golf courses, 2016 is just about in the books.
As Sports Illustrated Golf Group staffers, our travels have taken us all over the country and even the world. From the British Open at Royal Troon to a Ryder Cup in the Midwest and everything in between, there has been a lot to cover and even more to see. We asked members of our staff to dig through their phones and pick out some of their favorite shots of the year and explain why they are memorable to them. Check out what we came up with below.
Pete Madden, senior producer, GOLF.com: This is me and Mario Gonzalez, the “Brazilian Bobby Jones,” who according to his more well-known peers had Hall-of-Fame talent but little desire to leave his beloved Rio behind to pursue his golf dreams. When my profile of him ran in GOLF Magazine in advance of golf’s return to the Olympics at the Rio Games this summer, it was the first time either of our names had appeared in its pages. Maybe that’s why we’re both smiling.
John Garrity, contributor, Sports Illustrated: These were the last few hardworking souls on Sunday evening at the Masters, a couple of hours before the old pressroom closed forever. The new Masters press facility will open for business in April.
Sean Zak, assistant editor, GOLF: Not two hours after Henrik Stenson won the British Open on the 18th green at Royal Troon, a few Tour bags were escorted to the first tee. The grandstands were still up (and that’s where I took the photo from) but the focus was on the trophy ceremony. Those escorted bags belonged to Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and much more than a foursome group that jogged out for an emergency nine. Yes, they hit two off the tee.
Marika Washchyshyn, multimedia producer, GOLF.com: This is me at the front gate of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, the first major I got to cover on-site. Despite the moment, my co-workers were not deterred from joining the fun.
Sean Steinemann, social media editor, GOLF.com: A celebration eight years in the making. As soon as the U.S. squad sealed the 41st playing of the Ryder Cup, I grabbed my GoPro and traveled right into the heart of the madness; and madness it was.
Alan Bastable, executive editor, GOLF.com: Nothing takes the stink off a bad round like a couple of ice-cold IPAs or a peaty single malt. Which is why to a middling golfer like myself a golf club’s watering hole can be every bit as important as its bunkering or green complexes. You can have your mahogany-lined Tap Room at Pebble Beach or ancient Jigger Inn at the Old Course — me, I’ll take the Oyster Bar at Kiawah Island Club’s River Course, which I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year. There’s so much to like about this sumptuous, dimly lighted space, from the hand-turned white-oak ceilings, designed to make you feel as if you’re embedded in a whiskey barrel, to the towering walls encrusted with oyster shells, to the subtle but well stocked bar. There’s also a pool table and one of the largest TV screens you’ve ever seen. Another 18? Nope, I’m good right here.
Josh Berhow, staff producer, GOLF.com: The Ryder Cup was a special one for me. Not only because it was my first, but it was my first time being back in my home state of Minnesota to cover a golf event. Here’s a look at the opening tee shots on Friday, although my view is sub-par compared to the kid who scored that great spot in the tree.
Coleman McDowell, associate editor, GOLF.com: The draw of Bandon Dunes is its simplicity, outlined best at the par-3 12th on the original course. A large green wraps around one lone pot bunker with one mound to frame it, all with the Pacific staring at you the entire time.
Josh Sens, contributor, GOLF: The 16th at Cypress is as punishing as it is picturesque, but what makes it all the harder for most of us is the knowledge, as we’re playing it, that we’re likely not going to get many more cracks at it. It adds to the pressure of an already loaded moment. I’ve been lucky to play Cypress a handful of times and I’ve now had the chance to watch other Cypress virgins get that nervy first-time experience. Earlier this year, I got to play it with a friend who’d never been out there. He’s an Alister Mackenzie fanatic. He can practically recite The Match from memory. For him, as it is for a lot of us, playing Cypress was a longtime dream. Also like a lot of people playing the 16th for the first time, he missed the green. His ball wound up on the beach, short right. But he spotted the ball from above, then clambered down to the sand with his wedge and played this recovery shot 9 (bottom left of the photo). I like the picture because you get a sense of the scale of the 16th, along with its beauty, and you see it from a slightly different perspective. Also, I should mention: my buddy gouged that shot off the beach, a miracle shot to the green, then drained the par. Not bad.
Washchyshyn: Nighttime at Baltusrol after the closing of the 98th PGA Championship. The week had been a race to the finish, battling darkness and rain every day of the tournament. It was a peaceful moment to the end of a hectic, but fun, week.
Garrity: This is from the Ben Van Hook photo shoot at Isleworth with Paula Creamer for my piece on Paula in the SI Golf+ U.S. Open preview. The dog’s name is “Studley.” (Ed. Note: We are sad to report that Studley passed away in 2016.)
Zak: Friday morning of the Ryder Cup was covered in fog. Saturday morning, this was the view, and you could finally see the entire hole, from tee to green, and all the avid fans that set their alarms extra early that day. Don’t let the sunrise fool you, though: 7 a.m. in October in Minnesota is not warm.
Berhow: I took this photo to send to my brothers, a few friends and my father in law the weekend of the Masters. I won the media lottery and played Augusta National the Monday after the tournament. Safe to say I wasn’t late for my tee time.
McDowell: The 5th at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog is the first of two crescendos of the round. It’s your first sight of the ocean, and although it’s only a short-iron in, the tiny target makes for a challenging hole. The sheer beauty of this par-3 is worth the trip itself.
Steinemann: A star is born. Andrew “Beef” Johnston took the golf world by storm in 2016, and I was lucky enough to witness it first hand. Bring on the Beef!
Garrity: Faced with the prospect of filling in the infamous sinkhole beside the Top of the Rock practice range, near Branson, Mo., Bass Pro Shop CEO Johnny Morris decided to keep digging. He found a cave complex that connects to other caves on the shores of Table Rock Lake.
Washchyshyn: A 6:55 a.m. tee time at Dundarave Golf Course in Prince Edward Island, Canada was a quiet, misty morning well spent.