Big Break Myrtle Beach Episode 7: Show Insight

By Big Break ProducerNovember 24, 2014, 4:12 pm

We are back for another week with one of my favorite Big Breakers, Sara Brown! We teamed up to break down this week’s gossip worthy events.

Sara, before we get into the show, tell us what you’ve been up to! 

Sara Brown: I co-host School of Golf on Golf Channel with Martin Hall and am LOVING it!!! I am a very competitive person and do not ever want to stop playing golf, but i think this year will be a less aggressive schedule than it has been in past years. I will still be competing and playing, along with working alongside Martin here at Golf Channel :)

That’ so great to hear everything is going so well! I’m sure our Big Break viewers are loving watching you back in the spotlight! Okay…back to the show…


Immunity Challenge 1:

At the beginning of the day, the remaining players were given $500 cash. Each player had to call out a player to go head-to-head in a closest to the pin contest. Each winning player kept the other player’s money. The process was repeated until one player ended up with the entire $3,500 pot! I love when the producers bring out the gambling!

Sara, what would be your strategy when picking your first matchup?

Sara Brown: Ultimately you have to get through the whole cast if you want the $3,500 cash prize. I guess I would start with who I thought I could beat.  Kind of like Charlie picking Emily because he knew she was in between clubs for that shot. That’s the fun of Big Break because you have been spending so much time with everyone, you start to know their games. It looks like it paid off for Charlie in this challenge!!!

I agree, you have to beat the best to walk away with the $3,500, but you definitely can be smart about who you pick first. Charlie and Christian played their way into the final matchup. In the end, Charlie’s thought-out strategy and consistent play helped him walk away with some cash in his pocket and a guaranteed spot in week 8. Great job…AGAIN Charlie!


Immunity Challenge 2:

In the second challenge, the player’s accuracy off the tee was measured. Each player had two tee shots to see how close they could hit it to the center line. The catch was the boys had to hit it a minimum of 230 yards and the girls had to hit their shots a minimum of 200 yards. The two players to hit it the closest to the center line would win immunity. While the winner of the challenge would also pocket $2,500 in travel credit from Travelocity!

Sara, what was your initial thought of Anthony pulling 2-iron?

Sara Brown: WHO HAS A 2-IRON haha, no but really I wasn't shocked he went for an iron. He even said his driver wasn't the most accurate.  I’m sure everyone had the fear he wouldn't be able to hit it the minimum yardage of 230. Weren’t we surprised! I mean he did swing outta his shoes, but i think Toph said it best, “In the closest to the pin challenge, only one person hit it 5 feet from the hole, but Anthony was able to hit a 2 IRON 5 feet from the middle of the fairway…  Pretty impressive!”

Anthony, continues to impress me week after week!  A big key to success, is knowing your game. For him to have the confidence to pull a 2 iron, than proceed to hit it a few feet from the center line was impressive!

We saw another interesting play from Christian. He pulled 3-wood on both shots and both times hit a HUGE duck hook! Those shots single handedly sent him into elimination. When golfers get nervous, they often get fast with their swing. This causes the arms to speed ahead of the hips, resulting in a closed club face and the dreaded left shot.

Anthony ended up the closest at 5’8” from the center line. Tessa also found herself immune, hitting it center cut at 5’11”.

Elimination Challenge:

Emily seemed confident that Christian would not choose her, due to her length and current strength of her game. Speaking of having game, she just recently won the Arizona Women’s Open!! This was her biggest pay check in her professional career and her 4th win!

Sara, do you think Big Break has played a role in her success?

Sara Brown: She is so good…and YES YES YES! Absolutely Big Break has helped! The pressure you feel on Big Break is nothing compared to any pressure you have felt before. I think when put in tournament situations, there is pressure. But you are able to control it better and come out on top…as Emily has proven by winning 4 times in a few months as a pro! My Dad Mike Brown owns/runs the Cactus Tour that puts on the  AZ Women’s Open. He said Emily was nothing but a class act and a great competitor. I am really looking forward to the rest of this Big Break season and seeing how far she gets!!!

Emily was right, as Christian ended up picking Jimmy for elimination. We saw some great shots from Christian throughout this show, but today just wasn’t his day. 

Sara, why do you think Christian kept pulling 3-wood when he duck hooked two already in the immunity challenge?

Sara Brown: Kelly, WOW honest I HAVE NO IDEA. I would definitely have kept that club in my bag and not taken it out in elimination…but as golfers, we are constantly trying to fight the mental side of ourselves. So maybe Christian was really confident with that club and though he could pull it off. However, you would never see me hitting a club i know i have been duck hooking all day on a dogleg left par 4 with a hazard down the left side…YIKES!!! I just think it was a mistake and that sadly cost him his time on the show :(

Sara – being a Big Break veteran, what words of encouragement do you have for Christian as his Big Break journey is over?

Sara Brown: Christian you are amazing!!! I greatly enjoyed your demeanor and your drive to succeed. The line you gave when you said, “It’s not win or lose its win or learn”.  That was AWESOME!!! Keep that mindset and you will be so successful on and off the golf course my friend! Welcome to the Big Break family, you have already made us proud and I cannot wait to see all of the great things that you do in the coming years!!! Best of Luck :)

The cast is slowly dwindling down. Sara, out of the remaining players, who do you think has the advantage?

Sara Brown: I think that the remaining players are all great. If i were to pick, I would say the best player to this point is Charlie. For the girls Emily is a pretty tough competitor but so is Tessa, so I don't know who I would pick between those two. On the other hand, I would say Jimmy is the weakest. That’s not to say I don't think he is good or anything but he just hasn't been winning any challenges and seems to be really hard on himself. On Big Break, the added pressure you put on yourself is never a good thing. Those weeks are hard enough without having any confidence, so i can’t wait to see what Jimmy does in the coming weeks.

Final question, with only two girls left, would you try to stick together and take out the boys?

Sara Brown: Again you have to beat everyone to win Big Break. You also need that person you can hang out with when the day is over and the cameras are off. Since there are only two girls left, I think we will see them try to take the guys out if they are sent to elimination.  I also think the boys will be gunning for the girls as well because they may think they are the weakest link. But these two girls can play, so watch out boys!! :)

Sara, thank you so much for joining me this week! I thoroughly enjoyed your insight! Until next week!

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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.

Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 7:40 pm

Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.

Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.

It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.

Goodbye and good riddance.

The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.

“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.


The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.

Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.

Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.

But at what cost?

The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.

The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.

We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.

In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.  

We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.

Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.

We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.

“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.

Amen again.

We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.

Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.

There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.

This is good governance.

And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.

This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.

We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.

Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.

Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”