Behind the Scenes at the Ryder Cup With PGA of America Golf Professional Braedon Fox
By Braedon Fox, PGA
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas during the U.S. Team scouting trip(Braedon Fox)
When I was asked to join the U.S. Ryder Cup Team as a photographer on their trip to Marco Simone for their scouting trip practice round, the answer was immediate.
This was my third photography assignment of the year for the PGA of America . . . previously shooting the PGA Championship at Oak Hill and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
However, I wasn’t able to process how special this specific opportunity truly was until the trip began. Here I was, a 25 year old kid from Proctor, Vermont (population: 1,611), flying to Rome on a charter plane with the best golfers in the world.
Seven years ago, my high school graduating class (18 total students) would have never believed it and I don’t blame them. At that point in my life, I had never even picked up a camera.
Fast forward and I am now walking off the plane and getting my first glimpse of Italy. After a police escort to the hotel and a quick shower to counteract the jet-lag, we immediately made our way to the course. In the blink of an eye, I am standing on the first tee at Marco Simone as the U.S. Ryder Cup Team see’s the course for the first time.
The seats may have been empty but the force of the grandstands could still be felt. Soon, this exact location would be one of the loudest places on Earth.
Marco Simone is a golf photographer's dream. Every direction I looked, I found myself thinking, “Wow, I need to capture this.” When standing on the tee boxes, it was hard to believe that what I was looking at was real. It looked more like a painting than real life.
But hopefully the beauty of the golf course didn't fool you. Marco Simone proved to be a true test to the best golfers in the world. The rough was the longest that I had ever seen, and the drastic elevation changes found throughout the golf course had players constantly debating which club they should hit. One wrong move could led to a lost hole at this year's Ryder Cup.
My enjoyment of this trip went much beyond the photography assignment. Many lifelong memories were created — having the best pizza I’ve ever had at 50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo, watching the Alabama versus Texas game at the hotel with the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and making some lifelong friends.
“When I bought my first camera in 2016, I never imagined how far it would take me.”
This is something I said to fellow PGA Digital team member, Andy Turner, as we sat on the rooftop of the hotel. We both reflected on what got us to this point in our careers and compared our journeys.
As I reflect on the past, I am also extremely excited for the future. I can’t wait to continue my career as a PGA of America Golf Professional and golf photographer, documenting history one photo at a time.