Friday, 30 November 2018
2018 European Tour Photo Of The Year  (European Tour)
2018 European Tour Photo Of The Year (European Tour)

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They say a photo tells a thousand words. Well over the course of December we have 24,000 words to share with you thanks to the best photos of the season.

In an advent-style countdown, we'll be highlight the top 24 photos of the year from European Tour events. In addition to the photo themselves, we'll hear from each photographer about the story and situation captured in each photo.

This article will be updated each day until December 24th and you can also tune in via social media using the hashtag #ETPhotoOfTheYear. Get in touch and tell us what you think of each of the selections.

Number 24: "Fanling"

Photographer: Arep Kulal/Getty Images

"The photo was taken at the par-five third hole during the first round of the Hong Kong Open. It was all about the concept of many ‘firsts’ for me when I framed up that shot of Tommy Fleetwood teeing off. The Hong Kong Open was the first event of the 2018 European Tour season on the Race to Dubai and Fleetwood was the reigning Race to Dubai Champion. Another reason why I decided to take a photo of Fleetwood teeing off at the third hole was because the hole offered a very scenic view of Fanling in Hong Kong. I'm also very please with how the photo turned out because of the specific challenges on that hole. The area behind the tees box is extremely small and I have to ensure that I do not obstruct the swing of Fleetwood, or the other players, when they teeing off. I managed to balance on the wall behind the tee and frame the shot the way I wanted. Ensuring I was in quiet mode, I was able to shoot throughout Tommy's swing and then select this impact frame as the one I used. Choosing this specific frame gives an added sense of just how challenging and narrow this tee shot is."

Number 23: "Meeting your hero"

Photographer: Luke Walker/Getty Images 

"I took this shot at the British Masters in October. Justin Rose was the tournament host so getting a great image of him was extremely important. I know Justin is great with the public and especially kids. I saw this kid waiting for the players between holes so I found a spot and got low to be at his level and waited. It’s always great when you see an image and you are able to capture that moment/image."

Number 22: "Green on green"

Photographer: Warren Little/Getty Images

"This picture was taken on the 13th green ahead of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club this year. I was looking around for preview images and as walking noticed something moving slightly in the rough near the green. This little guy was heading for the green and making a bee line passing the flag. Any movement I made would influence his movement so if I got too close would have changed it’s direction so I had to wait till the last minute. As he got close to the pin I had to get in position low down to capture the colourful chameleon but capturing in context to the golf event. So took the picture with quite a wide angle lens to help the creature stand out as it passed near the hole this gave an in context image of the scene. It took a while for the trek across the green but I can tell you the chameleon made it safely to the otherside, and I got my shot."

Number 21: "Golf from above"

Photographer: Pierre de la Vigne/Ready Prod

"This photo was taken by a drone photographer the week before the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National. "The angles you get from drones, especially in golf, are just incredible" said Jamie Kennedy, Ryder Cup Europe's Content Director. "We spent two days at the course before the event week, flying over holes, capturing content for broadcast, social media and hype montages to be used during the week. After taking a couple of shots like this one, looking directly down on greens, we discovered just how breathtaking Le Golf National is. The course was in flawless condition and these unique, different angles helped us share that story with fans in the lead up the matches."

Number 20: "Plugged"

Photographer: David Cannon/Getty Images

"This was the lie that Paul Dunne found after his second shot had come up just short on the par five 10th hole at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. To say he was a tad unlucky would be an understatement! The faces of those bunkers are very firm, like concrete, so for the ball to bury itself was pretty remarkable. His face told the story. The sequence of images of him trying to get a stance and eventually playing the shot are almost comical. I think he went on to miss the cut by only a shot or two. I took this picture from this angle because I felt it told the story of his rotten lie best. His stare at the ball and the fact I can just see a third of the ball from where I am. Funnily enough, I sat down with Paul's caddie later that day and he requested this photo for Paul’s favourite bar in Greystones back in Ireland. I'll need to visit one day and redeem a free pint!"

Number 19: "Moliwood"

Photographer: Jamie Squirel/Getty Images

"This photo was taken on the first day of the Ryder Cup. Clearly the week turned out incredibly for Tommy, Francesco and the European team but it wasn't all plain sailing. This shot was from the end of the morning session, moments after Molinari had just earned Europe's first point in a 3-1 session to the US team. That point prevented a morning whitewash and sparked a memorable partnership between these two. There was lots of shots of them from the week but I loved the feeling of this one, the expression, the fans as the back drop, the body language of Tommy and the clear bond between them both. It was just the start of what is now known as "Moliwood"."

Number 18: "Links Land"

Photographer: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

"I took this shot at the 2018 Irish Open at Ballyliffin. The course landscape was amazing and we were constantly looking for the right angle to showcase the land. The natural open space dictated the framing and composition of the image. I take a lot of photos of golfers and golf swings but what differentiate this picture from other golf pictures is that I decided to focus more on the space, natural surroundings and soft light that presented itself at that moment. The golfers are the secondary focus of the frame. It's actually Rory McIlroy teeing off but you don't need to know that as the shot is about the beauty of the terrain."

Number 17: "A Master At Work"

Photographer: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

"The driving range is always the first stop each morning of a Major. It's always crowded, so on this day, I was forced to walk toward the back of the spectator area because I couldn't get up to the front. As I walked by, I caught a glimpse of some light through a cutout in one of the metal rails. There are a series of cutouts with the Masters logo that run the length of the range on the fence that separates the golfer area from the spectator area. When I got close and looked through, I saw that it was former Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal at the side of the range. I framed him and his caddy within one of these cutouts to make this image. Its significance lies in the fact that the logo is instantly recognizable (even though it's actually backwards in this shot!) and framed within it is a former champion of the event. The fact that the logo is backwards adds a bit of tension to the image. Every time I look at it I wish it was the correct way, but that's exactly what makes me look again. It was a right place, right time photo."

Number 16: "Deja Vu"

Photographer: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

"This photograph was made during the trophy presentation immediately after Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship, his second straight Major victory. I think we had six photographers on the green so I decided to stand off to the side and see if I could come up with something that was a little different. Watching the presentation I noticed how shiny the Wanamaker trophy was and how reflective it was. I zoomed in when Kopeka received the trophy to see if I can could get a nice photo of him, with his face reflecting on the trophy. I had followed him a lot during the tournament and you notice that he does not get very excited and even when he wins he is very gracious. So to me I wanted to show this graciousness in a way that was different than the standard pot shot. It's a very innocent but intimate at the same time because of this angle. It lets in on the story without being over the top and staged. I wanted it to feel like you could sense his emotion and capture a moment that wouldn't come across on TV or in other photos."

Number 15: "Allez, Allez, Allez!"

Photographer: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images 

"This was the walkway from the range to the first tee at Le Golf National. Passing over the fans, it was the last walk players and officials took before heading out onto the course. I remember seeing this angle earlier in the week, but it just didn’t work. The sun cast a shadow over half the wall, or there was too many people walking across the bridge so it felt a little messy. On Sunday, the stars aligned. The crowd saw Thomas walking up to the first tee and started chanting his name, he responded and raised his arm and I finally managed to get the image I had been after."

Number 14: "Mountain Golf"

Photographer: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images 

"This shot is from Switzerland and the sixth hole at Cran sur Sierre. I actually stood on the second fairway to capture this angle, using a longer lens to compress everything into the frame. It was taken relatively early but what makes it special is that there is light on both the golfer and the the flag. That was only possible once for the whole week because of the flag's position on the green. Every other day it would have been shaded by the shadow of the trees. The story it tells is simple, we are all familiar with the classic pictures from Crans Montana that show the mountains and water but I felt this picture brought together the element of the trees which actually feature on many holes and make the course a demanding, narrow challenge from the tee."

Number 13: "Bunker Art"

Photographer: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images 

"DLF Golf and Country Club is modern course in New Dehli and is surrounded by beauty. Nearly all the bunkers have this rippled construction that I had never seen before. Some of the bunkers are incredibly tall but what surprised me is that if a ball hits the face it just drops down and not ricochet. I chose this angle purely because of the light. I wanted to give people who have never seen these bunkers a sense of the ripples and what it's like to see them up close. It's amazing how beautiful, yet punishing, these areas of the course are."

Can't wait for the full list? Why not check out the 2017 Photo of the Year contenders.

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