Celebrity Golfer Drills Photographer’s Crotch with Shanked Tee Shot

A photographer has learned a painful lesson on not sitting too close to an amateur golfer’s tee shot after the celebrity “athlete” shanked his swing and sent the ball right into the sitting photographer. It was all caught on camera.

The scary-yet-humorous incident occurred on February 9th prior to the start of the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open, when celebrities and social media influencers flocked to the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, to try their hand at the Shot at Glory challenge.

The Bachelor Steps to the Tee

One of the participants was Matt James — best known for being the first male Black bachelor in season 25 of The Bachelor — who walked up to the tee barefoot and with someone else’s club.

James completely whiffed his first swing, taking a divot out of the tee box a few inches behind the ball.

His second swing did connect with the ball… sending it straight into one of the photographers gathered a short distance away.

“Aiming for the Wrong Hole”

The cross-legged photographer immediately keeled over in pain after getting hit. Luckily for him, the ball did not hit his face or camera, and it just barely missed his family jewels.

“Uh, I think I was aiming for the wrong hole,” James said in an interview after the mishap. “There was a moment there where I took a divot on that first shot and I should have toned it down a little bit.

“I was a little worked up and then that second shot… I probably should have brought my own clubs out, should have checked which way the wind was going. It just came off the tip of my nine iron and was a clean thigh shot.”

James admitted that his shot “came within centimeters of causing some real damage.”

“I’m just really glad he’s not hurt,” he said. “I really would have loved to get another shot […] Probably would have to clear the whole course out, but I feel like my second shot would have been my best shot.”

After checking on the photographer, James offered him a souvenir (the “ball that almost took him out”), which the photographer turned down. James said later that he was planning to find the photographer again to give him the signed ball and treat him to dinner.

A Painful Lesson Learned

The PGA Tour did manage to track down and interview the photographer, who was shooting as photo/video staff for the WM Phoenix Open.

“Next year, I’ll wear a cup,” the photographer says.

Some are questioning why the group of photographers continued to sit and stand so close to James after seeing what was transpiring.

“Not to sound harsh, but you really have no one to blame but yourself if you remained in the shank zone after 1. Seeing this dude roll up in overalls and no shoes, and 2. Seeing him dig a hole halfway to China on his first swing without making contact with the ball,” writes GolfDigest. “Stupid games, stupid prizes.”

We’re guessing that in addition to wearing a protective cup next year, the photographer will be much more careful about where he chooses to sit when covering less-skilled (or no-skilled) golfers.