Renowned sports photographer David Cannon talks through some of his favourite shots of St Andrews; some famous others a little more "unseen."
David Cannon has, for the last 35 years, been at the forefront of golf photography and has been responsible for some of the sport’s most iconic pictures; images that have been reprinted countless times in magazines, newspapers and online and have become engrained on the golfing public’s conscious.
He’s also an ambassador for Glenmorangie – the Spirit of The Open. Both David and the whisky were present at St Andrews for this year’s championship; David in a professional capacity as an official R&A photographer, Glenmorangie taking a more relaxed approach at “Glenmorangie House” on site, where there was a tasting bar and whisky cocktails to try. There was also a cosy Glenmorangie whisky bar at Hotel du Vin on The Scores.
“DC,” as he’s affectionately known, has a great affinity with St Andrews, having photographed the course and the place on numerous occasions at significant events contested over the great old links. He’s produced many photos of St Andrews that most golf fans will recognise, but he’s also taken some shots that fewer will have seen. Here, David runs through a selection of his favourite St Andrews shots. Some well-known, others more “unseen.”
Let’s start with a series of shots everyone is familiar with from the 1984 Open Championship. Severiano Ballesteros holing the winning putt on the 18th green. This is my most vivid Open Championship memory and I will never forget the goose bumps and my heart pumping like mad as my all-time sporting hero holed this putt. I then had to wait 15 hours to see the slide processed! Thankfully the results were pretty good.
Here’s a double rainbow over ‘Hell Bunker’ on the par 5 14th hole on the Old Course after a monumental thunderstorm in late August 2009. I was cowering in a shelter and literally ran 600 yards in pouring rain to get this shot – but it was so worth it!
What a moment at the 1995 Open Championship! Costantino Rocca holes a huge putt from the Valley Of Sin to secure playoff spot against John Daly. It was an incredible moment of poetic justice after he had duffed his chip so badly just before. From agony to ecstasy!
A very low evening sun highlights the incredible undulations on the par-4 12th hole looking back to the 11th green on the Old Course – ‘it’s not so flat after all!
Here, the same evening sun shows the undulations again down the par-4 6th hole.
Sunrise over the R&A clubhouse at 5am as the greenkeepers cut the 18th green. These are the moments that only very few golfers ever see and, although, it means an early start, it’s worth it to get these type of shots.
Sunrise again at 5am from behind the 1st green on the Old Course – I never tire of this view.
Here’s Manuel de Los Santos on the 18th tee in The Dunhill Links of 2009. He’s a baseball player who lost a leg in a car accident and now plays golf to a 2-handicap. Seeing him play was pretty inspirational.
The Dunhill Cup – Sergio Garcia and basketball legend Michael Jordan have a running race down the 15th fairway. The little Spaniard left the long-legged legend behind!! It was a great moment as I had overheard these two egging each other on about 5 holes earlier. So I had walked ahead patiently and was rewarded on the 15th when they let loose! Wonderful to witness.
This is the highest point on the St Andrews Links – looking down on the 15th green of the Jubilee Course early in the morning with the R&A clubhouse and St Andrews town behind. This is a magical spot displaying the difference even 40 feet of elevation can make. It’s quite a climb up that dune!!
As the R&A photographer I get special access to the Claret Jug. This sunset on the 18th tee looking across the 17th green with the Old Course Hotel behind made for a special picture.
Here’s Payne Stewart teeing off in the 1995 Open Championship in his trademark clothing – such lovely colours and the Swilcan Bridge adds to the composition.
Paula Creamer doing a spot of acrobatics prior to the Ricoh Women’s British Open of 2007. She was just so full of energy and happy to be in the Home of Golf!
A great moment to capture in 1995 – Ernie Els playing balls off West Sands. Just such a cool image!
A fun shot of Carly Booth and Breanne Louks trying to will the ball into the cup during the Curtis Cup of 2008.
Also in that Curtis Cup, this shot of Michelle Thompson displays the severity of Hell bunker. Look closely – you can just see her ball appearing over the lip.