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THE 2017 PLAYERS for the PGA TOUR with my iPhone

Posted on May 22, 2017

Si Woo Kim kisses the trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 14, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

 

I made the long trip home last week from photographing THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida for the second year in a row. On assignment for the super cool folks at the PGA TOUR I shot several thousand pictures over eight days with my favorite camera, my iPhone 7 Plus. Last year I had the amazing opportunity to cover this tournament for the TOUR for the first time. Thanks to the vision of Caryn Levy, who manages the photo department for the PGA TOUR, I was given the chance to try something very different in 2016. I was hired to shoot pictures with my phone around the fringes of the event to provide images in a timely manner for the various social media channels operated by both the TOUR and THE PLAYERS.

Last year Caryn took a huge gamble hiring me. Spending the money to fly someone across country to do what I do with my phone is not something anyone else in the sports business is doing. Many leagues and organizations don’t understand how important original imagery can be in the effort to reach their millions of fans following them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Last year’s event was both a learning experience and a success, so much so that the TOUR hired me to work several more events during the year and decided to bring me back two weeks ago. TechCrunch made headlines with this story about me working THE PLAYERS last year, and I would like to think that I am doing all I can to prove that the TOUR is making the right decision to keep me in their rolodex of freelancers.

Caryn has an amazing staff of photographers who photograph golf all over the world for her full time. Senior staff photographers Chris Condon and Stan Badz, along with new staffer Ryan Young bust their ass all week at TPC Sawgrass making sure the most important event of the year at the TOUR’s home course is well documented. Staff image librarian/junior photographer Jennifer Perez is also on hand providing invaluable coverage of many of the non-action assignments/events that go on during PLAYERS week. This amazing staff coverage, along with the work produced by staff senior graphic designer Rob Knox and a fabulous crew of freelancers frees me up to do my thing and enjoy the creative freedom that is so incredibly rare these days. Two new staffers with the TOUR made this year’s PLAYERS run so smooth for myself and others. Photo Editor Tracy Wilcox and Project Coordinator, Photographic Services Michela Whiteside could not have been nicer to me, nor could they have been more supportive of me and my work behind the scenes.

When I arrived at the golf course for my first day of shooting on Sunday, May 7, 2017 I was immediately reminded how much the TOUR and THE PLAYERS appreciated the work I had done for them with my iPhone last year. Upon entering the game room in the locker room inside the glorious clubhouse I ran into four HUGE framed blowups of some of my pictures from 2016 (see below). The quality of the prints from my phone is just incredible. Caryn told me they had redecorated “The Perch” with over a dozen of my pictures from last year. Located behind the 18th green at TPC Sawgrass, “The Perch” is a two-story building where the official scoring rooms are located, along with a broadcast studio for Golf Channel and NBC Sports during tournament week. When I walked into “The Perch” for the first time I was stunned and blown away seeing around 15 of my pictures from last year (see below) blown up huge and sepia toned beautifully by designer Rob Knox. The prints are spread out all over the two-story building and look so amazing. I have never had a client honor my work this way, let alone a client I had just started working with.

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Brad Mangin’s iPhone photographs from 2016 hang on the wall in the locker room before THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 7, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Brad Mangin’s iPhone photographs from 2016 hang on the wall in the Perch before THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Brad Mangin’s iPhone photographs from 2016 hang on the wall in the Perch before THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Brad Mangin’s iPhone photographs from 2016 hang on the wall in the Perch before THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Detail of pencils and paper in the locker room during practice for THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 7, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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A fan dances during Military Appreciation prior to THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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A family poses for a picture during Military Appreciation prior to THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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David Lingmerth and Robert Garrigus look at the Stanley Cup prior to THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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A tee marker during practice for THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Ernie Els plays charades at the driving range during practice for THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Pin flags after practice for THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Sunset after practice for THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Sunset after practice for THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

One of the highlights of photographing THE PLAYERS and every other event I have covered for THE TOUR is staying at the course late to shoot the sunset, and getting up early to shoot the sunrise. You simply can’t beat the magical aura around a gorgeous golf course that you get during these special times of the day when the sun cooperates to create stunning vistas in front of your camera (or in my case my iPhone!). Being able to build early momentum by shooting pretty pictures at sunrise on the first day of tournament play on Thursday is so important to me. Having a gigantic forest fire north of us in southern Georgia creating hazy smoke made my pictures even prettier! I am able to get so many terrific pictures early in the morning that just aren’t possible during the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead.

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Before sunrise on the 17th green during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Defending champion Jason Day tees off on No. 10 during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Caddie Clay Duerson carries Billy Hurley III bag out to the course during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Caddie Billy Spencer cleans the clubs belonging to Brett Stegmaier during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Caddie Cory McCown marks balls for Freddie Jacobson during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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The clubhouse before sunrise during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Lee Westwood of England warms up on the range during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Bubba Watson reacts at No. 10 during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Rickie Fowler tees off on 16 during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Rickie Fowler signs autographs during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay carries Phil Mickelson’s clubs to No. 3 during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Phil Mickelson tees off on 3 during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Sergio Garcia signs autographs during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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A young fans gets autographs during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Jon Rahm signs autographs during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Si Woo Kim tees off on 10 during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 14, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Si Woo Kim’s name is applied by to the Waterford Crystal trophy engraver to the trophy during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 14, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Si Woo Kim’s celebrates with fans after the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 14, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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Si Woo Kim kisses the trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 14, 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

One of the huge differences between shooting THE PLAYERS this year compared to last was being able to shoot so many pictures, especially of guys on the tee boxes, with the 2x telephoto lens in my iPhone 7 Plus. There are so many times when the standard lens is just too wide. Being able to bring the golfers closer with the 2x lens really helps the variety of images I can create for the TOUR. It also makes me happy!

The pictures I create on this assignment are used in so many ways by the TOUR and THE PLAYERS. Between being published on the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS websites they are used on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more. I thought it would be fun to show you all a few nice examples of them using my pictures on Instagram:

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on the PGA TOUR Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on THE PLAYERS Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on the PGA TOUR Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on the PGA TOUR Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on the PGA TOUR Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on the PGA TOUR Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on THE PLAYERS Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on THE PLAYERS Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on THE PLAYERS Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on THE PLAYERS Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

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iPhone photograph by Brad Mangin used on THE PLAYERS Instagram account during THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in 2017 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brad Mangin/PGA TOUR)

When it was time for me to begin my long trek home to San Francisco from the Jacksonville, Florida airport last week I was super sad that this assignment was over. When you cover a long event like this and put in so many hours working with such a terrific group of people you end up working in a bubble where the outside world does not exist. There is nothing in the world that makes me as happy as having the chance to be creative with my photography, and being able to work with such nice people at the TOUR really spoils me.

I need to thank my knucklehead freelance photographer roommates and dinner dates at our palatial rental house in Marsh Landing, Cy Cyr and Kent Horner. Ever since I met Cy when he was a young punk kid assisting Preston Mack at the 2003 World Series in Miami I knew he was was someone I would enjoy working with. Kent and I go back around 20 years to the days when he was a Sports Illustrated assistant traveling the globe working with the legend John W. McDonough and others. Spending a week with these two guys was a blast. I hope we all get to work together again soon!

Finally, I need to thank to the two characters who seemed to spend so much time doing nothing but harassing Cy and I in the media center, PGA TOUR Vice President, Brand Marketing David Piccolo and his sidekick PGA TOUR Senior Director, Creative Services John Rice. Pic and John have been big supporters of mine since we first met last year, and the two of them together create such a fun and inviting work environment during a very hectic PLAYERS week. They don’t take themselves too seriously and they make you want to go that extra mile to make them happy. Good people like Pic and John make you want to get up at 5am to catch the sunrise.

A few months ago I wrote a story for PetaPixel entitled, “I Earned More From Photo Gigs in 2016 With My iPhone Than My DSLRs.” So far this headline rings true again in 2017 thanks to Caryn and Pic and the other supportive people at the TOUR. I look forward to seeing what other cool things we can do together the rest of the year!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Brian Mills May 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Great Job Brad.
    We met at Arnold Palmers Invitational.
    Sorry we did not meet up at TPC
    Your images looked awesome in the Perch and I hoped you were proud of those.
    Caryn and her team and the PGA Tour are great to work with. Keep up the good work 👍

    Brian

  2. Z-Man May 23, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    What amazes me is how beautifully you capture the an scene…not just the imagery…but the FEEL of the event…I can smell the dew on the early morning grass…the colors, clouds…everything really…and I’m not even into golf.

    And to contrast the poetic feel of your capture of the events to your blog…The people at the PGA both understand the new media AND value it and you…and WHAT you do…A far cry from the Corporate GREED driven individuals serving the owners at MLB, NBA & NFL…not spending a dime on anything that doesn’t make THEM MORE money….disguarding anything and anyone that doesn’t drive MORE $ into their personal coffers…

  3. Brad Mangin May 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks so much for the kind words Brian! I was so thrilled when I first saw my photographs on the walls in the Perch!

    I remember meeting you in Orlando- so glad you took the time to say hello.

    Yes- Caryn and her team are just fabulous to work with.

    Thanks again!

    Brad

  4. Brad Mangin May 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks Z!

    Your words are so poetic about the corporate assholes out there trying to keep us all down!

    Revolution.

    Brad

  5. Cooper Neill June 1, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Great work as always, Brad – love that lead image!

  6. Brad Mangin June 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks so much Cooper! It was such a fun assignment.

    Brad

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