August 13, 2011
Shakespeare once said that some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them when they become an instant Internet meme. Or something like that.
You're already familiar with the Tiger Woods photobombing fellow from Friday's round. We went looking for him on the course, and as it turns out, "white dude wearing blue shirt and white shorts" narrows it down to only about one-fourth of the entire gallery.
But fear not! Our intrepid Devil Ball crew has found the photobomber! His name is Ben Turner, he lives in North Carolina, and his Twitter feed is @benturnerlive. And here's his story:
First off, take us through the moment: what were you thinking when you realized Tiger's ball was right there in front of you? What possessed you to leap in front of the camera like that?
Well, I wasn't surprised when Tiger blocked it right. Tiger's miss is usually 290-305 yards to the right, and that's exactly where I was located EXPECTING Tiger to drive it there. On Thursday, I did the same thing on the 12th hole, Tiger's third hole of the day, and enjoyed being five feet from him as well.
When Tiger was visualizing the shot I noticed the TNT camera over Bryon Bell's shoulder. I thought it would be neat if Tiger struck it well to show my zeal for Tiger on camera. There's no disputing that I'm Tiger's number 1 fan. I've followed his career wholeheartedly since he said, "Hello world" in 1996.
Anybody say anything to you afterward from TNT or AAC?
Yes, I got hit in the face by the camera assistant / cable line operator trying to move me out of the way.
How soon after the moment did you realize you'd been on TV?
Within 15 minutes, I had numerous texts, missed calls, and DM's on twitter from friends.
Now, you're a huge Tiger fan--how long did it take you to be able to name all 71 of his victories in order?
Basically my memory just builds as he has won over the years. As an avid golf fan I can also name all Masters champions in chronological order, as well. I love the history of this great game and consider it to be a privilege to follow Tiger's career and his greatness. He has done so much for the game of golf and we are all indebted for his contribution.
How long do you think it'll be before you can add another one to that list?
I believe that if Tiger is fully healthy and he spends these next few months putting in the reps he will come out blazing in 2012. His distance control will fall into place soon enough. I once said a few years ago, Tiger in the fairway is unbeatable. If you look back at the stretches of dominance he had especially in 2005-2007 that was the key. He was hitting so many more fairways. If he finds something with Sean Foley to get his FIR up to 65-70% then the rest of the Tour will start shaking in their golf shoes.
Ever gotten a chance to speak to Tiger?
Yes, in 2009 at Quail Hollow Tiger had a 7:40am tee time. I was the first fan on the course arriving at 5:50am. Tiger was actually putting in the dark on the practice green doing his drill of 5 foot putts - putting through two tees in the ground. He literally made every single one and he did that drill at least 60 times. Stevie was out there and being the only person there Tiger approached me, asked me a few questions, and could not have been any nicer!
Finally, which number was higher: Tiger's strokes over par or the number of beers you'd had on course?
Haha! I actually had only Gatorade. The heat index was over 100 so drinking was never an option while walking the course.
And there you have it. Thanks to Ben for being the Cigar Guy of 2011. And kids, don't try to duplicate this feat ... mainly because Tiger's now out of the tournament and his security will take you down if you do it on his home course.