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No cameras please!!!

No cameras please!!!

Jan. 6, 1950: Sign on left proclaims Ben Hogan’s dislike of having picture taken as he prepares to play his second shot on first fairway at Riviera in the Los Angeles Open.

Writer Al Wolf reported on the “No cameras” sign in the next morning’s Los Angeles Times:

Ben Hogan’s golfing career, almost terminated by a near-fatal auto accident 11 months ago, resumed on a sour note yesterday as he teed off in the Los Angeles Open at Riviera. But the rhubarb he caused subsequently collapsed.

Before starting Hogan requested no pictures.

When a battery of news cameramen lined up to make a shot on the 1st fairway he stepped back and said:

“No pictures or no play.”

Later he explained he meant he would not hit the shot until the photographers retreated. He denied he intended it as an ultimatum that he would withdraw from the tournament.

A sign, prepared by the authorization of a sponsoring Junior Chamber of Commerce committeeman, “No cameras please! Players request,” was produced and carried around the course in Hogan’s gallery.

The sign discreetly disappeared after eight holes.

Hogan posed for a couple pictures before teeing off, but said he was not to be shot at after starting actual play.

As he began addressing his ball on the first tee, the whir of a movie camera in the hands of a spectator (the newspapermen were using still cameras) disrupted the pin-drop silence and Ben stepped away, frowning. Then he drilled a beauty down the middle.

Harried and booed by some of the galleryites, the photographers retreated. Some took a few long-range shots, then all returned to the clubhouse and protested to tournament officials. The sign soon thereafter vanished.

An official, who requested anonymity, said:

“Sending out that sign was an unfortunate thing. It smacked of favoritism. I would definitely oppose doing it again–for Hogan or anybody else. Hogan’s trouble with the photographers was a matter between him and them. Certainly we could not stop them from taking pictures. And had Hogan refused to play with them around, he’d have risked disqualification for delaying the tournament.”

Several of the other contestants were irate.

“Picture-snapping is distracting to all of us, but that’s part of the game,” rasped one, who asked that his name be withheld. “Hogan shouldn’t expect to be given advantages over the rest.”…

After he finished his round Hogan talked with photographers in the press room as they sought to settle their differences.

Although they parted friends, with handshaking all around, there was no retreat from the position taken by each, Hogan saying he didn’t like to be photographed while playing and the photographers pointing out they have a job to do, pictures have been taken for years at golf tournaments, and if pictures weren’t taken the newspaper space which publicizes the tournaments would be reduced to a fraction of its present amount.

The photo above was published in the Jan. 7, 1950, Los Angeles Times.

The 1950 Los Angeles Open ended in a tie between Hogan and Sam Snead. Other tournaments and scheduling conflicts postponed the 18-hole tie-breaking round until Jan. 18. Of course, with Hogan teed off, he was welcomed by a wall of photographers (photo below).

Jan. 18, 1950: Ben Hogan tees off on first hole of playoff with Sam Snead at Riviera. Snead and Hogan had tied in the 24th Los Angeles Open. Snead won the 18-hole playoff by 4 strokes. Credit: Paul Calvert/Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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2 Comments

  1. October 22, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Whomever took this picture broke the rules lol

    By: sabrina
  2. October 22, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Was it a foggy or smoggy day at the Riviera?

    By: Bruno Marr

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