Right place, right time for local photographer

Paul Broadhurst hits final approach shot to 18. Winner of 2018 Sr. PGA KitchenAide tournament.
Tim Petrovich Tees off in the last group on Sunday. Finished second at -15
In the studio with Lisa Cornwell, John Cook and Tim Rosaforte
Randy Willis getting a picture and autographs from the crew.

Right place, right time

For local photographer

By Randy Willis with Tom O’Neill

            Sometimes carrying a camera around one gets to meet interesting people, and at times, interesting shots. Such was the case covering this year’s Senior PGA.

            I’m always looking for the best angles to shoot photos. I noticed a Golf Channel tower with a balcony overlooking the 15th green. It would be a great angle to shoot players hitting into the green across the river and putting. I walked around the back of the tent and saw a sign on the door that said “Studio Open”. I checked it out.

            As I opened the door there was a distinct metal on metal noise as the door scraped across the threshold. Everyone in the studio turned around and looked at me. Oops, later learning someone was on the green lining up their putt.

            I was greeted by a young woman that was director of the studio. She couldn’t allow me to shoot from the balcony, but invited me to stay and watch their 15-minute live update. Excitedly I accepted. I was fascinated with all the behind the scenes people and their functions to go live. There were people doing make-up, camera and sound. A young man from Los Angeles told me he represented the company that built the tent.

            When the show ended I was able to get autographs from the sportscasters on postcards of our pier I had brought to pass out. Lisa Cornwell  said she had walked the pier. John Cook would only sign in red sharpie because he is an Ohio State fan, mentioning his dad played and coached at OSU.

            By the time I was leaving the maintenance guy was putting duct tape on the bottom of the door.

            I enjoy chatting with all of the patrons and volunteers to hear their stories. At the 2016 tournament I was explaining to my wife how I kept ending up in the water at the 15th. Comparing my endeavors to “Tin Cup”, the guy standing next to us says “You know you are supposed to lay up on this hole. That’s how it was designed.”  As our conversation continued, I found out it was his company that did all of the course excavation.

            There were lots of people locally and out of town who spent their time volunteering as marshals. Hole 10 was filled with volunteers from the First Church of God, having adopted it as “their hole”.

            One gentleman from St. Joseph explained he and his wife frequently walk the course for exercise and pick up errant golf balls. Another from Frankenmuth drove here for the day, saying he had grown up watching these players and wanted to see them in person.

            And yes, sometimes I do get embarrassed. At the bridge on hole 15 was a gentleman I should have recognized as we talked about a long-time family home and his daughters. He told me his name, Tom Starks, owner of Starks Funeral Home.

            I would like to thank MailMax and my friend and sports reporter, Tom O’Neill, for the opportunity to cover this year’s event as a photographer and reporter because of his illness.