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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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.