I Shot a Tiger

Tiger Woods at the HSBC
Tiger Woods at the HSBC

Here is the picture I was talking about. I got it.

This was taken as Tiger finished his round at the 2006 HSBC Championship in Shanghai. It was on the bridge from the 18th green to the clubhouse. I had been standing there with Yoyo for about half an hour – when we first arrived there was no one there, but by the time Tiger was finished it was well crowded – and I had been practicing the shot on several lesser players who walked by, as well as general staff. See, I was using my grandfather’s old Canon SLR, which is manually focused and which requires the aperture to be set by the photographer. Knowing I would only have one chance to bag the Tiger, I had to be sure I would get it right.

Indeed I did. The focus is perfect, as is the exposure (OK, maybe not perfect, but at least correct). The look on Tiger’s face conveys disappointment – he finished second and may have been thinking about his round here, but probably he was just trying to avoid being photographed. Fair enough. I was, after all, breaking the rules.

Which leads me to this disclaimer: Tiger Woods, if you are out there and happen to read this post, I would like to apologize for knowingly violating the rules of the golf tournament and taking pictures. You know I wasn’t the only one – and I know that doesn’t necessarily make it right. But know this: I did not and would not ever take pictures of you during your setup, stance, or swing. That would be interference. But I must argue that taking a picture of you while walking down the course, or after you have finished playing, cannot really be interfering with your game. You are a public figure after all, and while you have every right to privacy, I think there are times when you have to allow yourself to be photographed. And sometimes the rules conflict with that.

Anyway, Tiger, thanks for coming to Shanghai. You really made my day. If you would like to respond to my ideas about picture-taking, please, by all means, leave a comment on this blog.

Chuck Norris Fan Club: The Final Battle

It has all come down to this.

Two weeks ago, Chuck Norris Fan Club faced its toughest match yet. We were down, 2 games to 1 in a best of 4 series, and with only one player left on the court, we were staring a virtually impossible to overcome 3-1 deficit in the face.

Fortunately for Team Chuck, that one remaining warrior was none other than Bulgarian Dodgeball Legend Yanita Karatchorova.

Facing six opponents, the odds were highly stacked against Yanita, and the fans of Team Chuck could feel the legend of 10 straight victories with no defeats was slowly evaporating from the air. But Chuck Norris had other plans.

In the most inspired performance in the history of the Shanghai Dodgeball league, Yanita channeled the power of Chuck Norris directly from his ranch in Texas into her very blood. Charging forward against all hope, she quickly laid waste to three of her enemies, including one of their biggest killers. Having nearly leveled the playing field, she wisely retreated to the rearcourt to dodge her opponent’s counterattack.

With missiles flying in from every direction, Yanita stayed strong and alert, deftly weaving her way between the incoming projectiles, until her enemy was nearly out of ammunition. Then, her enemy wound up with his one remaining bullet and hurled it at Yanita with all his might. Like a lightning bolt of pure Chuck, Yanita stood firm and pulled off what some had considered impossible.

She caught the ball.

The crowd erupted as CNFC’s star player, Jamey Harding, took the court after Yanita had decimated four of the enemy. With only two remaining, it was only a matter of time before she and Jamey cleaned up and evened the score at 2-2.

After such a momentous charge, the enemy was unable to recover and CNFC cruised to a 4-2 victory, extending their winning streak to 11 and keeping their title of “Undefeated for Life” well intact.

Declaring Yanita the Player of the Week was a no-brainer.

After a week of rest (reward for its position at the top of the league), CNFC tonight faces the Dirty Half Dozen in the semi-finals – and assuming all goes well there, either the Golden Balls or the Urban Cowboys in the final. Team Chuck has defeated all these teams in the past. But anything can happen out there.

Still, after all we have been through, having stared defeat in the face so often and come out victorious every time, I have every confidence that the Chuck Norris Fan Club will walk away with its second straight League Title tonight.

CHUCK YEAH!!!

chuck norris fan club

Tiger Mania

tiger

We witnessed Tiger in the flesh on Sunday at the HSBC Champions tournament at Sheshan Golf Club here in Shanghai. Here you can see him lining up a putt on the 9th, but when I get my next role developed I expect to have a much better shot of him, which I shot up close after he finished his round.

It was really a great event. I, who love golf, was bound to have a good time – no surprises there. But many doubted that my lady would be amused at walking around a vast expanse of land for hours on end watching large men hit little balls at faraway targets. The doubters were wrong; she loved every minute.

In fact, this was not her first golf tournament. She accompanied me to the 2004 China Open, also in Shanghai, which gave tickets away for free because Chinese people don’t care about golf Tiger wasn’t there. The biggest name at that event was Thomas Bjorn.

But this one was huge. I guess there were over 10,000 people there Sunday. And media were all over the place, as were the corporate sponsors. They had an area set up to play games, and I took shots of her playing mini-golf and getting a free ten-minute lesson.

The Chinese love Tiger, and some will say it is because they love a winner. All Chinese F1 fans (that I have met) love Michael Schumacher. All basketball fans love Jordan. And all golf fans love Tiger. People become golf fans because they love Tiger. This is not limited to the Chinese at all; it’s a worldwide phenomenon.

I have to admit, the guy is MAGNETIC. Just knowing that I was on the same course as him made me feel electric. When I saw him up close, I felt magic. I can’t describe it. Star power, I guess.

I got tickets by playing up the media angle, getting a pass to the media tent and a free lunch. That meant that I got to go to the press conference the Tuesday before the tournament started, at which Tiger made an appearance and answered some questions. I tried to ask him if he would ever design a golf course in China (he recently announced the formation of a design company), but the moderator never called on me and eventually a Chinese journalist asked my question. Tiger answered in his usual loquacious, noncommital, and media-savvy way.

On Friday he shot the course record, 64, but in the end he didn’t have enough to win, and came in second – the same as last year. And again, a relative unknown won. This year the champ was Yang Yung-eun of Korea, who beat out third-round leader Retief Goosen in the final holes. Cool finish.

Chuck Norris Fan Club

chuck norris fan clubChuck Norris doesn’t shower. He takes bloodbaths. And that is what the Chuck Norris Fan Club, Shanghai’s best dodgeball team, has unleashed upon the league since its creation last spring. CNFC is Undefeated for Life, an amazing run that includes one league championship (the first ever), and a run that was nearly brought to an end last night by the talented Golden Balls.

It was a tense match, with tempers flaring (as they always do when talented teams meet). The Golden Balls had CNFC down 3-2, but the Chuckers wrested victory from their opponents with a thrilling finish that featured a truly inspired performance from one Coley Dale.

It was a battle that brought back memories for Chuck Norris Fan Club. In the championship match last season CNFC was brought to the brink of destruction – yet survived. Though they trailed 2-1 and later 3-2, CNFC came from out of nowhere, much like their hero, to defeat their laughing foes and savor the sweet taste of victory.