pga, golf, tiger woods, bay hill, rain

Tiger in the Rain

Tiger Woods at Bat Hill, 2003(Photo by Brian Cleary/www.bcpix.com)Tiger Woods at Bat Hill, 2003(Photo by Brian Cleary/www.bcpix.com)Tiger Woods at Bat Hill, 2003(Photo by Brian Cleary/www.bcpix.com)
photos ©Brian Cleary/www.bcpix.com

Watching Tiger Woods claim his 5th Bay Hill title and 5th consecutive tour win in Orlando this past weekend made me think back to another Bay Hill win. I was working my "day job" as a freelance photographer (www.bcpix.com) covering the Bay Hill tournament for the Associated Press back in 2003.

Rain plagued the tournament for all but one day, with some of the hardest, wettest showers rolling in on Sunday, as Tiger was stretching his lead and starting to pull away from Vijay Singh and the rest of the field.

That wasn't the unusual part, though. What made this tournament special was the fact that Tiger was sick throughout Sunday's final round, apparently having eaten a bad meal somewhere.

Since my assignment throughout the final day was to follow the leaders, which meant Tiger, I had the opportunity to study Woods up close. through my long telephoto lens. I watched the agony on Tiger's face as he struggled through the long, wet, cold day and wondered where he was disappearing to every few holes when I would occasionally be unable to find him among the group of golfers as they approached a tee. It turns out that Woods was actually wondering off into the trees to be physically sick every half hour or so.

I began to wonder if he would even be able to finish the day! At the end of the day, Tiger won the tournament by 11 strokes, going away, and I came away with an all new sense of amazement at this once-in-a-lifetime athlete.

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