The best of the match at Seminole occurred in the first few minutes and came in the form of a still image. That’s because the best of the match was the simple fact it existed, not the details of the competitive action coming in the next four hours. That mattered less than the fact that golf, televised golf with familiar names, had returned. The sense of that return was captured in a photograph on the first hole.
In normal times, it might feel like a shot out of the Instagram influencer handbook. But this came from Getty, one of the select few let inside for this socially distanced and sparsely attended match. The photo featured four millionaires, world-class pros of varying accomplishment, bounding off the first tee and down the first fairway with straps on their shoulders. Dustin Johnson, who could not remember the last time he carried his bag, opted for a less conventional method. This was the best of the match. The best in the world, doing what they could to bring golf back in a way that was abnormal for them but familiar to us.
— GOLFTV (@GOLFTV) May 17, 2020
It showed how we started this return with the key details in order. We had four young superstars committing their time to raise money and with a keen understanding of the responsibility to do it safely. We had a prime venue never before seen on TV opening its doors for the effort. We had an event that would by necessity be stripped of much of the lard that clogs the current presentation of pro golf.
The execution yesterday was not flawless. The play was not crisp and that lard crept in over the next four hours. There were moments of frustration, boredom, and annoyance. There were valid critiques and low points, and maybe those ruined it for you. But we’re grading on a scale here in the middle of a fucking pandemic. The larger point was that televised golf was back and raising $5.5 million for COVID-19 relief.
The return of televised golf would always be a welcome sight. But the anticipation was amplified because this event started by getting so many things right. Four of the best in the world mic’d up, walking and carrying their own bags through a sandy basin that happens to hold one of the most revered golf courses in the world.
We saw all of that captured in the first few minutes with a stop-you-in-your-scroll stunner. It was notable just to have competitive golf photos to look at again. Two months ago, these are photos we might have just glanced at and continued on our mindless scroll, or maybe offered a mindless double-tap. But this one made you stop for an extra beat. Golf is a slow game often captured best by photography. This may not go down as one of the great photographs in the pro game’s history, but it will stick in the memory. It shows famous players looking like you and a few friends on the weekend at a much less exclusive spot.
We don’t have to get too overwrought about what the photo represents or means. It was just an image that made you happy, that caused you to reflect—a pop of dopamine that displayed an anticipated return.