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Tiger Woods, Cigar Guy and the greatest sports photo ever (well, almost)


Some are calling it the greatest sports photo ever. While we're partial to Ali-Liston (or just about anything taken by Neil Leifer), the one of Tiger Woods that was snapped by Mail on Sunday photographer Mark Pain on Saturday during Ryder Cup play ranks pretty high on the list for four significant reasons:

1) Pay attention. The photographer's name is Mark Pain.

2) It immediately plants that "holy bleep I'm going to die because that golf ball has my name on it and I don't mean Nike One Tour" notion in your head.

3) Photoshop photoplay was spawned across the internets, thanks to No. 4. (Caution: last photo in the Pickle's link is NSFW.)

4) There's Cigar Guy. Upper right corner.

The shot, both Tiger's and Pain's, came on Woods' final hole. The photographer, who was snapping pix just where he was supposed to be, was unhurt. Woods' shot, according to the Mailonline, was "badly struck." So it was all Tiger's fault.

But, really, forget all that. Cigar Guy has become an internet sensation and is now appearing in galleries and classic shots everywhere. (It was inevitable that Sad Keanu meme would try to get a piece of the action. Sadly, there are no Sad Don Drapers yet, but Cigar Guy has moved to classic album covers. And ... who is this guy anyway?)


You could add yours, you know. Or you could decide who you think he might be.

By Cindy Boren  | October 6, 2010; 5:15 AM ET
Categories:  Golf, Tiger Woods  
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How can The Washington Post list any suggestions for "greatest sports photo ever" without mentioning its own greatest sports photographer, Richard Darcey? The photo of Charley Taylor's catch during the 1972 NFC championship win over the Cowboys ( to be in the discussion. Far from the randomness of the image above and removed from the technological advances that make technically astonishing images commonplace, Darcey's images relay a deep knowledge of his subjects that allowed him to get into position to capture defining moments.

If you can, dig up and show the image of the sports section from the day that image ran - it was almost the entire top half of the page.

But Greatest Ever? Ali standing over Liston. Bobby Orr flying through the air. Y.A. Tittle kneeling in the end zone. Babe Ruth on Babe Ruth Day. The Miracle on Ice SI cover. That you can recall these images from such short descriptions should tell you something.

Capturing an incredible MOMENT isn't enough - it has to be an incredibly EMOTIONAL moment.

Posted by: BSDetector | October 5, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Steve William's facial expression is pretty sweet, too. It says "Dude, you're screwed."

Posted by: wassaab | October 5, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I saw this shot in real time and There's a reason why this Jack Wagon got hit by the golf ball.... and it's not because Tiger hit the shot thin... I do believe this is the Photog that snap the shot in the middle of Tiger's follow through. Stevie should have knocked the dome off of that donkey

Posted by: Debonair31 | October 5, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Photographers are allowed to click after the ball has been struck. Golf photographers have one of the toughest jobs in sports, and the good ones are as tough as they are creative. The fact that neither Tiger nor Stevie got upset is proof enough that this photog was positioned correctly and shot according to the rules.

Posted by: JoeDalhart | October 5, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

See more of the cigar guy and other funny pictures at

Posted by: FaceSwaps | October 6, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

It depends on what is meant by "Greatest". This is one of the more funny and interesting but doesn't really have any "gravitas". I believe the picture of Ben Hogan hitting a one-iron on the 18th hole at Merion in the 1950 U.S. Open, his first after the car accident, is considered by many the greatest golf photograph.

Posted by: giscone | October 6, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

As far as the greatest SPORTS photos of all time one of the greatest has to be Nat Fein's photo of Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium the day they retired #3 months before he died of cancer. Ali standing over Liston is, of course, another. The basis of this article placing Tiger's shank is, of course, absolute silliness.

Posted by: giscone | October 6, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If Cigar Guy needs a job, is calling...

Posted by: jon29 | October 6, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I found the best video compilation of 'The cigar guy" this link
Is very funny, look at 1:10 minutes haha

Posted by: usangager | October 6, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

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