FRISCO, Texas (Jan. 18, 2023) ー The PGA of The us named Stephen Szurlej because the 3rd recipient of the Lifetime Success Award in Photojournalism. Szurlej and his exceptional occupation can be celebrated on Would possibly 17 right through the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Nation Membership in Rochester, New York.
The PGA of The us established the Lifetime Success Award in Photojournalism to acknowledge the necessary position that pictures performs in documenting the wealthy historical past of golfing and to have fun the people who have promoted the sport on the perfect degree.
“Stephen Szurlej’s unusual talent to seize golfing’s maximum memorable moments, athletes and classes thru imagery has made an enduring affect on our sport,” mentioned PGA of The us President John Lindert. “Stephen set the usual for golfing pictures thru his masterful creative talent and constant paintings ethic. On behalf of the PGA of The us, I congratulate Stephen for over 3 a long time of excellence in photojournalism.”
Szurlej, 73, served as Senior Group of workers Photographer for Golfing Digest and Tennis Mag for almost 30 years.
“It’s rather an honor,” mentioned Szurlej. “By no means would I’ve idea that I might be decided on for this. I’m in reality appreciative of the PGA of The us.”
Szurlej, who used to be born and raised in New Jersey and now splits his time between Danbury, Connecticut, and Port St. Lucie, Florida, honed his craft as a sports activities freelance photographer and spent 5 years at a weekly newspaper in Danbury. Whilst with the newspaper, which Szurlej estimates used to be the second one newspaper within the nation to have complete colour, he coated New York sports activities groups in addition to native golfing and tennis occasions.
Szurlej joined Golfing Digest in 1980 and coated golfing’s greatest stars. Nearly all of his event motion pictures gave the impression in Golfing Digest’s sister weekly e-newsletter, Golfing International. Szurlej additionally shot sequences and different instruction centered content material for Golfing Digest. It used to be at the ones one-on-one classes the place he constructed relationships with avid gamers.
All the way through this time, he additionally labored for Tennis Mag as each publications had been beneath the similar possession. He shot 15 consecutive U.S. Opens for Tennis Mag from 1981 to 1995.
For Szurlej, it’s tough to unmarried out his favourite photographs from over 30 years of golfing protection. Like many photojournalists, he has a tendency to pass judgement on himself extra at the misses than the makes.
“It’s a bit bit just like the avid gamers,” mentioned Szurlej. “Everyone seems to be so excellent available in the market. It’s so exhausting to win week to week. The similar factor is with golfing pictures. There are a large number of nice golfing and sports activities photographers. Getting the most efficient image, a profitable second is in reality a large number of exhausting paintings, a large number of effort and occasionally some success too.”
One symbol that does stand out to Szurlej got here from the overall spherical of the 2005 Masters. After following Tiger Woods’ tee shot at the par-3 sixteenth hollow, Szurlej located himself at the proper aspect of the golf green so Woods can be chipping in his course.
Szurlej identified the spoil of the golf green and estimated the place Woods would want to intention his chip to ensure that it to have any probability of attaining the opening.
He determined to face at the back of the packed gallery and shoot over the consumers’ heads. It used to be a bet for Szurlej who knew that if anything else dramatic came about now not getting an image used to be an opportunity. Woods’ chip momentarily hung at the fringe of the cup earlier than falling in and sending the gang right into a frenzy.
“Fingers flew up in entrance of me as I struggled to string the needle and stay my focal point level on Tiger,” mentioned Szurlej. “His response lasted simply a few seconds, however it gave the impression longer. I selected the right kind place, however used to be fortunate an outstretched arm used to be now not in my direct line of sight on the time of Tiger’s top expression. I had a number of frames ruined by way of raised hands, however most effective wanted one.”
Szurlej’s gamble paid off and produced one in every of golfing’s maximum iconic photographs.
All over the second one part of Szurlej’s tenure with Golfing Digest, he began photographing golfing classes all the way through the USA and the world over together with visits to Tasmania, Korea, Eire, Canada, Scotland, England and Australia.
One among his favourite assignments used to be visiting the key championship venues a yr prematurely.
“I might be there utterly alone,” mentioned Szurlej. “That magical time of day with the morning time within the morning and the closing gentle on the finish of the day is after I labored.”
Szurlej’s spectacular tenure with Golfing Digest concluded in 2010 following 446 tournaments, 104 primary championships, 15 nations visited and numerous reminiscences, a lot of which might be focused round operating carefully with the sector’s highest golfers.
“Golfers are most definitely the most efficient guys to paintings with in any skilled game,” mentioned Szurlej. “They had been in reality excellent to paintings with. I believe that’s the character of the sport. It breeds a undeniable appreciate. That used to be a in reality wonderful thing about operating in golfing.”
Szurlej joins previous winners David Cannon (2022) and Leonard Kamsler (2020) as recipients of the PGA of The us’s Lifetime Success in Photojournalism Award.