For those non-golfers among you, this is one of the legends of the game - Arnold Palmer, otherwise known as Arnie.
In 1995 Arnie had played his last British Open, which just so happened to be held at the spiritual home of golf, the old course at St Andrews in Scotland.
This photo was taken the old course at St Andrews, in 1996. Arnie was playing in a gold medal tournament (don't ask me what that means) and it was to be his last round of golf at the course. It was by no means a well-publicised occasion and the crowds that would normally be present for a British Open were absent. The media, however, knew about it and quite a few journos and photographers had rolled up for the occasion. I was photographing Arnie for the Daily Mail, a London-based tabloid.
We all arrived at the course and set ourselves up for the 'traditional' 1st hole teeing off shot. The day was glorious and, being the occasion it was, it was all quite casual and light-hearted. Arnie had one of the most distinct golf swings in the history of the game - it was more brute than beauty - but it got the job done. He teed off, we all got the shot and then we all set off down the first fairway. All the photographers stayed with him for 4 or 5 holes and then headed off...except for me, that is. I can't remember why, but the Daily Mail didn't need an early photo and were happy for me to stay with Arnie for the full 18 holes.
As the game progressed, I was getting some okay photos but I knew 'the' photo was going to be the one you see here.
This 'wee stone bridge', formerly known as the Swilcan Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge at St. Andrews and spans the Swilcan Burn (creek) between the first and eighteenth fairways on the old course. It's one of the icons of golf and the previous year Arnie had stopped to be photographed on the bridge with the 18th green, the famous clubhouse, and the grandstands full of spectators all away in the distance. It was a very emotional public farewell.
Even though it had already been done, photographing him on the bridge again was the only way of locating where he was. Otherwise, it could have been any links golf course.
With that in mind, I decided to approach Arnie during the round and ask him ahead of time if he'd mind doing the photo for me.
I'll be the first to admit that I was a bit nervous - this was a legend of the game and I'd been watching him play all my young life - so it took me til about the 12th or 13th hole to figure out what I was going to say and wait until he was on his own.
Finally, I'd worked out my spiel and he was on his own, so I trotted up next to him, introduced myself and launched into my short spiel.
Without breaking stride he turned to me and, with one eye squinting and his face screwed up, said in a really loud, gruff manner, "WHAT?!"
Needless to say, I nearly shat myself.
I nervously blurted out my spiel once more.
No reaction.
Then, with eye still squinting and face still screwed up, he turned and looked at me - "YEAH, OKAY!"
It wasn't a pleasant "YEAH, OKAY!"
It came across as more of a "PISS OFF YOU %!@#...OKAY!"
My bowels nearly emptied.
He sounded pissed off. But why? Maybe he couldn't understand my accent. Maybe I should apologise. But what for?
My sensibility got the better or me and I decided leaving him alone was the best thing.
The game continued and I thought this was good as it might give him time to calm down.
As we neared the 'wee stone bridge' I felt myself getting nervous. How would he react? No matter, I had to ask him. I knew I had to get the photo. He teed off from the 18th and we all started the walk. We got to the bridge and I ran up to him.
"Mr. Palmer, I was wondering if we could take that photo I mentioned?"
He had seen me coming and, with eye squinting etc, said something along the lines and "YEAH, OKAY!"
I hate holding up anyone at the best of times, let alone a possibly pissed off golf legend, so I didn't want to take up too much of his time.
However, golf legends, pissed off or not, are also media savvy, and he walked onto the bridge, lifted his foot onto the side of the bridge, and rested on his golf club. It looked great and was exactly what I wanted. I could have run onto the bridge and kissed him!
All the other photographers had left so it was just me and a few other punters with happy snappers.
I had my two cameras with me (one with a long lens, one with a wide angle) and I took a few frames with both and I was done. I thanked him, he smiled and kept walking. If I'd forgotten to take the lens cap off or hadn't had any film in the camera, "BAD LUCK!" Arnie had 'left the building' and wasn't coming back!
I was as nervous as hell and, even though Arnie was posing for me as I'd requested, I was running on adrenalin. As a result, I kind of knew what I had but wasn't sure. I was just relieved that I'd got the shot I wanted and there was every chance it was going to look good.
The drive to Edinburgh was just over an hour and, being a glorious day, I took my time and enjoyed myself.
Back in Edinburgh, I processed my films. The shots taken on my long lens (80-200mm) looked crap without the crowd in the background, but the wide angle shots, with the burn, the grass and the blue sky as a backdrop, looked great.
The Daily Mail must have also thought it looked great and, for a tabloid, gave it a huge run in the sport pages the next day.

FOOTNOTE - I later found out that Arnie was deaf in one ear and when I had initially apporoached him on the 12th or 13th fairway, I'd been speaking into his deaf ear. Hence the continual loud, gruff "WHAT?!", "YEAH, OKAY!" etc.
I was relieved - I hadn't in some way ruined the day for this golf legend playing his last round at the spiritual home of golf.

Gear used - Nikon F90x, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 lens, Fuji 400ISO colour film, 1/500n sec, f8.

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