As golf’s Open Championship returns to Sandwich and Royal St George’s Golf Club this week, we spoke with Getty Images photographer Ross Kinnaird who has been responsible for capturing some of the most iconic images in all conditions from that tournament over an illustrious 40-year-career.
‘Ironically, the first Open I covered was in 1993, when Greg Norman won at Royal St George’s, and I’ve worked at more than 25 of those tournaments now,’ says Ross, who has also travelled the world to cover four Olympic Games, five football World Cups, Rugby World Cups, a British and Irish Lions Tour and more golf championships than he can remember.
‘I’ve been very fortunate to have 25 years with Getty, and then my time beforehand at EMPICS, but despite the many highlights, I do wish Zerofit had existed when I was starting out and through my career!’ he says.
‘You have to be spending a good bit of time in pretty much one location, and just by standing still, you will feel the cold. And that’s when the Zerofit comes into its own – because you just don’t get cold wearing it, it’s brilliant stuff, incredible. I was covering a Championship football match for Getty back in February, and it was sub-zero. Obviously, you’re checking the temperature on your phone, so you make sure you’re properly attired before heading out, but when I was out working it never felt anywhere near as cold – and that’s because I was, possibly for the first time in my career, wearing suitable clothing.
‘Interestingly, one of the coldest Open Championships I’ve ever photographed was also at Sandwich in 2011, when Darren Clarke won. It was probably the wettest and coldest I’ve ever been on a golf course, working. What typically happens at an Open Championship is you won’t get four very cold days – after all, it is mid-July – but you will almost certainly get one hellish day from the weather Gods.
‘The coldest winds I’ve ever experienced was at a Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing when Adam Scott won in 2005. I specifically remember hiding in the starter’s hut, and only coming out when a player arrived to take his first tee shot. It was absolutely freezing, some players actually walked in – it was just too cold to hold a club,’ adds Ross, who has recently discovered the benefits of both the Zerofit Ultimate and Move.
‘The clothing really is worth its weight in gold when you’re in a biting wind – if it’s frosty cold, but not much wind, you can put up with it to some extent – but if the wind blows, and it’s only three or four degrees without the wind chill factor, you need to be prepared. That’s when the Ultimate really came into its own.
‘I’ve done plenty of football matches where I’ve shot the action, been working for two hours at the match and you can feel your joints and whole body going steadily more numb, and colder. Then, I’ll get in my car, drive home for an hour or more and then get to bed, and I’ll still be feeling the cold, especially in my legs. The Zerofit Ultimate leggings changed that experience completely.’
So, to this week’s Open Championship back at Royal St George’s, back where it all began for one of sports best snappers.
‘Doing what I do, you get to know the various personalities on Tour, and build relationships with some of the players. I’d love Tyrrell Hatton to win, he’s simply one of the nicest guys, despite his fiery persona on the golf course. He is always super polite to us, super respectful, great lad and a fantastic golfer. If it wasn’t going to be him, I’d like to see Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, or Rickie Fowler, if we’re looking Stateside. But Tyrrell would be my favourite, and he’d be a superb first-time winner.’
The tournament will undoubtedly deliver a deserved Champion Golfer of the Year, but it will be the poorer for Ross’s absence as he battles a treatable Malt Lymphoma cancer – although this hasn’t stopped him working when he feels up to it.
‘I’ve shot some cricket recently, which was great – I love my job, and I think Mrs Kinnaird was delighted to have me out of the house for a day! One bonus of being poorly is that I’m getting to watch all the summer sport as a fan, the Euros, and the Lions in South Africa. But I can’t wait to get back to the day job, and Zerofit will make that a much warmer experience this autumn, winter and beyond,’ he concludes.
You can follow Ross’s adventures as ‘The One Eyed Crow’ @RossKinnaird on Twitter.