Photographer Hit by Errant Golf Tee Shot

On February 9, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am Tournament, a photographer was hit by an errant tee shot, with the event captured on video. 

Generally, anyone who spent time on a golf course knows to always stand behind someone when they are hitting a shot, but of course, events like these are a bit different, and in fairness, the photographer, Steve Cortez, is probably used to photographing PGA tour professionals, with whom he usually doesn't deal with such egregiously bad tee shots. 

The incident happened when former "The Bachelor" and "Dancing With the Stars" celebrity Matt James teed off at the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. James, who was barefoot and not showing off stellar swing mechanics, then hit his shot way offline and into the leg of Cortez, who was sitting about five yards away. James quickly checked on Cortez and later apologized again, offering to take him to dinner. Thankfully, Cortez was not seriously hurt by the impact, though he half-joked about wearing protective equipment the next time around. I am sure it also helped that the tee shot was traveling significantly slower than it would have been had it been off the club face of a professional. Hopefully, James will hit the range a little more before he steps into the tee box next time! 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Why was the photographer shot?

He wasn't.

One of the most awesome holes on tour, but man I cannot imagine the nerves that would be going through an amateur’s head with all that pressure. I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a lot more tbh.

Ouch! I'll bet that left a mark. When I was youngster, a friend of mine was a caddie at a local country club. He was walking with a customer and got a direct hit right behind his left ear from a drive off of a different hole. Bad slice! It just so happens that the guy that hit him was a doctor. He took the my friend directly to his office and gave him the once over and patched him up. He had a small cut from the 'collision' charge. No ill effect except for a headache. Could have been worse.

Yeah a whole lot worse, an Australian cricketer took a ball to that spot and didn’t make it, I dare say the golf ball was moving quicker than the cricket ball had been.

You was a matter of millimeters that made the difference. It's like sitting along the first or third baseline at a MLB game. I'm surprised that more people aren't injured from line drive foul balls.

Frightening how easy it can be isn’t it.

The cricketers name was Phillip Hughes if your curiosity gets the better of you, the videos are online but I’ll warn you it’s distressing. Unsettling and also provides massive perspective at the same time.

Oy! Gruesome. I know almost nothing about cricket but I do know the ball is hard. I've seen quips on some best of/worst of sports video shows and have seen a couple of guys get hit, but nothing like this.

Yeah it’s essentially a solid piece of cork with leather that has been varnished so it’s rock hard, and some of the ultra quick bowlers consistently bowl at 94/95mph.

They added a piece of protection to the back of the helmets directly after this. And to think up until the the late 80s they didn’t wear helmets at all.

Playing golf barefoot and wearing overalls. Ya, that guy really knows what he's doing as everyone saw. I would never sit where those people were sitting any time an amateur is teeing off, that's just asking for an injury.