Big Break and Two Dessert Trays Later

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 17, 2012, 9:52 pm

Hi everyone, first off, thank you so much for all of your support on Big Break Atlantis.  My journey in professional golf is just beginning, and I am excited to see what the next chapter has in store for me.  I wanted to take some time here to share with you a little behind-the-scenes on my time in Atlantis competing on Big Break:

The morning of my trip to the Bahamas, I arrived at the Ontario Airport in the AM before the sun came up to board a flight that made two stops before arriving at Atlantis. I noticed Selanee Henderson, but we don't make the the connection until the 2nd flight to Florida, where we also ran into Christina Stockton. Three Californian girls flying to Florida not knowing what to expect.

Running from the opposite side of the airport for our flight to make our connection with one minute to spare, there we met Allison Micheletti and Kelly Villareal. At this point, I was super nervous and didn’t know what to expect from the girls, but so far so good, everyone was nice! We arrived to cameras following us after flying all day into the night. We then met the rest of the competitors to find everyone has their own unique personality and beauty.

The next couple of days we played a practice round and did photo shoots for the Big Break. Shannon Fish and I connected right away and we rode together forthe practice round, playing alongside Natalia and Kelly. In between waiting on holes we practiced flop shots landing just over the cart and landing on the cart.We all hit it off.  I was really nervous being the youngest female competitor.  Some of my competition had up to 10 years of experience.  All the girls were very welcoming and nice. We all got along and separated competition from friendship.  So much was on the line that everyone knew you had to do what you had to do to win because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The night before the first day of competition I read some key points I highlighted in Zen Golf and I practiced my putting stroke in the hotel room. With many racing thoughts in my head it was hard to sleep. Every time I had a thought I would journal it in a notebook and brought it to the course to remind myself that I can do this! Not knowing what to expect, I arrived at the breakfast table. I didn't talk much at breakfast because I was trying to figure out a game plan in my head even though there was no way you can plan for Big Break.

We arrived at the range being told to practice a punch shot. I started practicing and I was very confident in the punch shot. I found out I was going up against Marcela. It was Marcela's birthday and I think I started psyching myself out with that.  I'm not usually superstitious but when I’m nervous I start thinking of these things. It also was tough knowing I was going up against someone with a lot of experience.  I told myself to not worry and that greater things in life have happened to people who were told they never had a chance.

The breaking glass challenge started and it was super exciting!  When the challenge started I completely forgot about the cameras. It came to my turn and I hit the post right below the glass. I was so bummed because the window was open and all I could do was wait.

Usually when I have to play under pressure I perform much better.  I felt that when I was competing in this challenge, it was happening so fast that I didn't feel enough pressure. It was almost too surreal to be happening that I didn't get myself in the moment. I was thinking of too many different things and not focusing on the shot at hand.

Marcela hit the glass and my heart dropped because it made it real that I don't get to hit the glass. I was so mad at myself at first for not taking more time. The glass break was much different than I thought because I thought I knew my trajectories with my clubs.  When I stepped up to the glass it was like I couldn't judge which club went high or low enough for the glass. This challenge showed me that I need to process my thoughts and visualize the shot in more detail.

The next challenge was from 75 yards. I was 2nd to last to go and I had no idea what everyone else was hitting or doing in the challenge. I felt more tension amongst each other and no one was laughing or smiling at that point.

Before the challenge started I only grabbed my wedges which I later regret. The wind was blowing the ball left about 20-30 yards. I play a draw and I underestimated the power of the wind. What I should have done was do something similar to the breaking glass challenge and hit a low punch shot up onto the green to make easy points. Yet again, I don't believe I put enough pressure on myself to perform. I kept thinking there will be more challenges, but the challenges ran out. My experience with the challenges taught me to take my time with every shot and be even more precise with my target. Now I make my targets so precise that my target is about an inch big. Aim small miss small right!

By the time Big Break became real to me I was already in the Elimination Challenge, so I began to perform. I did all that I could but Selanee just hit an amazing shot. What people don't realize is how great her shot was.  To make that shot in the Big Break is a completely different level compared to a normal round or a normal tournament. Kudos to her.  I made par but she made birdie. One shot made you or broke you. Tears and hugs later I was separated from the group and a contestant all alone.

That night I grabbed two left over dessert trays with a variety of options and I ate them all that night. Ha ha. The next day I was really bummed but then I thought about how lucky I was to have been given the opportunity and it just motivated me to work harder. To succeed you must fail a few times. It's not about today it’s about tomorrow. This will be a process and a transition but I will not give up! Big Break taught me how to deal with a new kind of pressure which has matured my golf game. Since the Big Break I have improved my swing to be mechanically better and learned to live in the present. The Big Break and Two Dessert trays later I am working harder than ever before and my journey is to be continued....

Meghan Hardin

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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's Friday 71 at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

Tiger Woods got caught in the Bear Trap on Friday, but bit back with a late birdie to sign for 1-over 71 on a difficult day at PGA National, where he sits four off the lead heading into the weekend at the Honda Classic.

Woods started at even par in Round 2 and began Friday with a bogey at the par-4 second, before getting that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. He remained there with this enthusiastic par save at the par-4 11th.

Tiger poured in three more pars at was just two off the 3-under pace when he rinsed his tee shot at the par-3 15th, leading to a double bogey. He dropped another shot and fell to 2 over when he three-putted 16.

But he wouldn't leave the Bear Trap at a total loss. At the diabolical par-3 17th, Woods wowed the jam-packed stands with a flagged 5-iron iron and a 12-foot putt for birdie, pulling him back to plus-1 for the week.

Woods would go on to par the closing hole, leaving him in a tie for 14th with two rounds to play.

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Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

“I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

“It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

Made Cut

Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

“What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

#MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

“I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

Stay tuned.

Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

Missed Cut

West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.