SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has photographed the U.S. Open ever since the magazine debuted in 1954. The editors asked SI photographers past and present to pick their favorite shot from the Open and describe why the picture is meaningful. Here are their selections and stories
1. KOHJIRO KINNO 2008 Torrey Pines
I shot the Sunday action from Snoopy, a.k.a. the MetLife blimp. After Tiger made the putt on 18, I could hear the roar of the crowd, even with the engine noise. The NBC guy on board asked if I got the shot, and I said yes. I reassured myself by looking at the sequence on the LCD of my Nikon D3 until we landed at Brown Field. As I was shooting, I could see Tiger's caddie, Steve Williams, running toward Tiger with his arms raised. It reminded me of high school when I got into trouble for running on the green during jayvee golf.
2. ROBERT BECK 2008 Torrey Pines
My 14-year-old son, Robert Jr., had graduated from middle school that Friday and was running cards for us. I was the last of SI's photographers to get to the 18th green, and I was down low with my Nikon 400 f/2.8, fairly far away from the pin but with an unobstructed view and a clean background. My son was dutifully back by the ropes. I called him over to my side for a better view. I said something like, "This is it." Tiger putted to a hushed crowd. I watched his eyes through my lens and listened as the crowd willed the ball toward the jar. When the ball dipped into the hole, I let the trigger ride. The crowd was beyond loud. Tiger was beyond Tiger. When it was over, I knew I had the shot we work and wait for. I looked at my son and said, "How was that?" The look in his eyes said it all.
3. JAMES DRAKE 1964 Congressional
Looking back roughly 48 years is not easy, but in this case my memories are quite clear. In those days they played 36 holes on Saturday and that particular Saturday was exceptionally hot and humid. Players and spectators alike were struggling with the intense heat, but none more so than Ken Venturi. I can still see him walking the final nine holes of the second 18, a lone figure moving ever so slowly down the fairways.
He seemed to be suffering from some form of heat exhaustion, placing cold towels on his face, drinking liquids and taking pills. The thought running through my mind, and I'm sure many others', was Can he make it to the 18th green before he collapses? I had been following him, taking pictures the entire time.
When Venturi finally did make it to 18, I scrambled for the best camera position. Unfortunately, I ended up with a view of his back when he sank the winning putt, but as the ball dropped into the cup he turned 180 degrees. Now he was facing directly toward me with arms raised in triumph and a look of joy and relief on his face.
4. JOHN BIEVER 2002 Bethpage