Big Break Myrtle Beach Episode 8: Show Insight

By Big Break ProducerDecember 12, 2014, 7:15 pm

I can’t believe it’s already week 8! The season is flying by and only 6 people are left.

 Immunity Challenge 1

Jumping right in, this week the producers introduced a new challenge called the limbo wall. The contestants had to hit a 57 yard shot underneath a wall while trying to get as close as possible to the pin. However, the players had to predict how close their ball would end up in relation to the pin. The player who predicts the shortest distance and is successful would win immunity and a $2,500 car rental credit courtesy of Avis! I love these types of challenges because you can see where their confidence lies in their own game.

 Surprisingly Charlie had the highest bid of 22’. It seems like he just thought the shot was tough and wanted to successfully hit his distance…which he easily did. He has clearly been the best player up to this point, so I was very shocked to see the conservative play here. Emily and Anthony continued their steady play and successfully hit their shots within their distance. Tessa and Toph failed to hit their mark, leaving the gate wide open for Jimmy. Jimmy has been flying under the radar a bit, but shockingly made a bold prediction of 8’. Really?! What does he do?! He hits it inside his mark to claim the first immunity and the $2,500! This was huge! Maybe this win will give him the confidence he needs to go all the way!

 The remaining 5 players went back to that same position to hit the same shot again. Same rules and the closest successful prediction would win the second immunity of the day. Charlie, Anthony, Tessa and Toph all predicted 9’ and Emily predicted 8’. What are the odds?! Charlie and Toph were the only players to successfully hit their distance….sending them into a playoff! Charlie completely mishit his shot, barely making it to the green…with his ball finishing an unimpressive 76’ away from the hole. All Toph had to do from here was pretty much just make contact. Toph got it done, advancing to next week, but it wasn’t very pretty. Sometimes this is the hardest shot in golf, when you only have to hit the green, or you only have to two putt. As athletes, we are conditioned to strive for the best and set high standards. When those standards drastically and suddenly get lower; it can be difficult to remain focused. It’s vital to keep your eyes on your game plan and stick to it.

 Jimmy and Toph spent their relaxing afternoon in paradise where they enjoyed a guided Jet Ski tour off the coast of Myrtle Beach courtesy of Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. Well that’s a nice way to spend the afternoon!


Immunity Challenge 2

In this second immunity, the players had to hit into point circles from 3 different locations. From each location, they would hit two shots, but only 2 of the 3 locations would count. Before moving onto the next location, they would have to choose whether to keep the score from that location, or throw it out. The player with the highest point total would win immunity and $2,500 via Macanudo and the player with the least points would head straight to elimination.

 The first location was a straightforward 120-yard shot. Tessa hit first, posting 6 points and decided to keep it. She said she likes being first. This is a great mindset to have as many players would feel the exact opposite! Emily also posted 6 points, deciding to keep it and Anthony posted 4, but threw it out. Charlie came in with the least amount of points at 3 and decided to keep it! WHAT?! Why in the world would he keep such a low score? I don’t understand his thought process here, especially since he’s been playing so solid! In Big Break it’s important to know when to be conservative and when to be aggressive. However, whenever players start to think too much, it’s very easy to become too conservative! I hope he keeps this in check, so he can continue with his recent success.

 The second Location was from 85 yards. Tessa threw out a 4 point total and Emily put up a strong performance of 7. Charlie posted 7 and decided to keep it…again! I just don’t get it! He locked in his 10 point total and has no chance to win. He is playing defensive and trying not to lose instead of trying to win. You never know, maybe he just doesn’t like 40-yard bunker shots.  Since Anthony threw out the first score, he was forced to take the last two scores and he posted a solid 6 in location 2.

 The final location was an awkward 40 yard bunker shot. Tessa posted 3 points and sailed her second shot over the green. This sealed in her total points at 9. Anthony’s first bunker shot gave him 3 points as well. He then found himself with an extremely important shot in front of him. If he hits the green he will be tied for last, but if he hits it in the 5 point circle he wins immunity. He pulled off an amazing shot under the pressure and stuck the difficult shot into the 3 point circle.

 Emily won immunity and $2,500 courtesy of Macanudo. She is always so poised and always thankful. Love this!! Tessa unfortunately found herself in the last position and will be heading straight to elimination.

 Charlie again decides to hold off on using his super immunity and gets chosen by Tessa! The entire day he’s been so conservative and playing not to lose. But when it comes to staying out of elimination, his conservative play was thrown out the window. He did play Tessa back in episode 1 to capture the Super Immunity. Maybe he thought he could beat her again if chosen.


Elimination Challenge:

Tessa ended up choosing Charlie over Anthony. Both players have been solid throughout, but Anthony has dominated the elimination challenges. It was interesting because it seemed like Anthony wanted to be picked! You could tell he wanted to play! I like that!

 The first hole was a par 5 that played 539 yards for Charlie and 449 yards for Tessa. Charlie hit his drive down the middle and Tessa hit her drive into the left hand rough. Charlie layed up short of the green and hit his chip to tap in range for his birdie.  Tessa had a tough lie but managed to lay it up to 77 yards. She hit an awesome approach to 7’ just past the hole. She came right up and out of her putt and consequently missed her birdie right. This is so easy to do! Remember on pressure packed putts to stay committed to your routine and keep that head down!

 The second hole was a 401 yard par 4 for Charlie and 329 yards for Tessa. Charlie played it safe and hit an iron off the tee, but managed to pull it into the waste bunker! That has to be the worst, when you intend to play smart but it backfires! Tessa hit her drive safely into the left rough. Charlie had a 154-yard bunker shot from a chunky side hill lie. He rose to the occasion and hit it to 20 feet! He said this was one of the best shots he has ever hit under pressure. Now that’s saying something! Tessa matched his great shot from 128 yards to just outside Charlie’s ball.

 She had 18 feet for birdie and she knew this was a must make! She made a good stroke but barely missed it to the right. She finished the two holes at even par. But that wasn’t good enough. Charlie missed his birdie and tapped in for par, finishing the 2 holes at 1 under.

 This is such a great testament to how talented these players are. From the first episode we’ve seen incredible golf! In order for the remaining players to stay around, they will need to continue to elevate their games each week.

 I’m sad to see Tessa go. She has a phenomenal attitude and I think she will go quite far in the game. With Emily being the only girl left in the competition, I’m looking forward to routing her on! She is one tough player and my money is on her to win it all.

 Keep in mind that If Charlie can make it through one more week without using his super immunity he will win $10,000! I think as long as he plays to win…and not play to lose, he should advance no problem.

 The battle is heating up!


Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.

Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Ortiz leads LAAC through 54; Niemann, Gana one back

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz shot a 1-under 70 Monday to take the 54-hole lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Chile.

At 4 under for the week, he leads by one over over Argentina's Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Chile's Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann, and Guatemala's Dnaiel Gurtner.

Ortiz is the younger brother of three-time winner Carlos. Alvaro, a senior at Arkansas, finished tied for third at the LAAC in 2016 and lost in a three-way playoff last year that included Niemann and Gana, the champion.

Ortiz shared the 54-hole lead with Gana last year and they will once again play in the final group on Tuesday, along with Gurtner, a redshirt junior at TCU.

“Literally, I've been thinking about [winning] all year long," Ortiz said Monday. "Yes, I am a very emotional player, but tomorrow I want to go out calm and with a lot of patience. I don't want the emotions to get the better of me. What I've learned this past year, especially in the tournaments I’ve played for my university, is that I have become more mature and that I have learned how to control myself on the inside on the golf course.”

In the group behind, Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who is poised to turn professional, unless of course he walks away with the title.

“I feel a lot of motivation at the moment, especially because I am the only player in the field that shot seven under (during the second round), and I am actually just one shot off the lead," he said. "So I believe that tomorrow I can shoot another very low round."

Tuesday's winner will earn an invitation to this year's Masters and exemptions into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, and final qualifying for The Open.