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Photo Finish

Oct. 11, 2004
Oct. 11, 2004

Table of Contents
Oct. 11, 2004

Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: SI Adventure
Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
LETTERS
SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
SI Players
College Football
Baseball
Pro Football
MOTOR SPORTS
PRO FOOTBALL
Five Outs Away
Inside the NFL
Inside The WNBA
Inside Boxing
Departments

Photo Finish

Classic Golf: The Photographs of Walter Iooss Jr. Introduction by Rick Reilly. Harry N. Abrams Inc., $35.

Golf's visual drama rests less in action than in reaction, so the game's most arresting photographs have little to do with hitting the ball. They're about freezing time to seize joy, agony and whatever falls between.

This is an article from the Oct. 11, 2004 issue

It is clear, after scanning this marvelous collection by Walter Iooss Jr., shaped over his four decades of prowling the fairways for SI as a staff photographer, that no one understands this better than Iooss. Perhaps that's because--as Rick Reilly tells us in his introduction--Iooss wasn't a golfer until recently. Meaning he set out with a photographer's instincts rather than a golf photographer's instincts, and therefore Iooss had a clear vision of the drama behind the game's curtain.

Look at what he did with Ben Hogan. When Iooss pointed and clicked, he captured what burned within the Wee Ice Mon, not only the familiar glowering stare but also the rare moment of solitary rapture.

Then there's Arnold Palmer, scowling in black and white at the '65 PGA, daring the ball to defy his will. And Jack Nicklaus. Young Jack. Fat Jack. Golden Jack. And one particular Jack--in profile from the shoulders up behind a St. Andrews bunker, gazing like Columbus on the prow. Isn't that Nicklaus in a nutshell?

Iooss's camera extracts the sad clown beneath Lee Trevino's Merry Mex, the thrilling insouciance of the young Johnny Miller, the high-collared poise of Gary Player, the exhaustion of Ken Venturi, the focus of Tom Watson and the despair of Lanny Wadkins. Sadly, there's little from the last decade, but Tiger Woods is represented, especially the unflappable Woods of that glorious 2000.

If there's a complaint, it's the come-on of the cover: Tiger on the tee, which misrepresents what follows. But unlike Tiger's of late, Iooss's aim is consistently true. --Jeff Silverman

Golf Plus will next appear in the Nov. 1 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (3)B/W PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (3)GOLF SHOTS Palmer at the '64 Open (above) and Nicklaus as bad boy. COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (3) [See caption above]