Big Break Myrtle Beach Finale: Show Insight

By Big Break ProducerDecember 19, 2014, 9:04 pm

The finale is here! One player will have their dream become a reality. With over $100,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs and a spot in the field at the 2015 Valspar Championship!

To determine the winner, Jimmy and Toph had to battle it out in an 18-hole match play shootout. It’s an interesting dynamic considering how good of friends they are. It’s pretty cool that on the first day, they planned on making it to the finale together. Coincidence or did they talk their way into being in the finale? It’s amazing what happens when you keep your focus and attention on the ultimate prize!

Out of the gates, Toph made a ho-hum par to go 1 up through 1. He looked very solid with a striped 3-wood down the fairway and a solid approach. Jimmy started off with a plugged ball in the fairway bunker. After that type of start for Jimmy, it’s important to stay calm and stick to the game plan!  He proceeded to hit 2 great shots on the second but failed to convert his makeable birdie.

Going into the 6th hole, Jimmy and Toph were all square. Jimmy had another very makeable birdie putt but failed to make it count. His putter looks a little shaky in his hands so far, I’m hoping he settles down a little! On the 9th hole, Toph got into some trouble, leaving Jimmy 2 putts to go into the back 9 with a 1-up lead; but he left his 3rd putt short! You can tell by his stroke that he is babying everything and trying to will the ball into the hole. This is why it’s so important to trust your routine and stick with it. It can make all the difference! When you can rely on that routine being exactly the same every time, you start to loosen up and gain confidence!

On the back 9, Toph started to fall apart. He topped a bunker shot into the water and literally handed Jimmy 2 holes. It’s hard to watch a player fall apart. Especially when you know how important this round is and how much it means to them. Coming into this competition, neither Toph nor Jimmy had much experience under their belt and it’s starting to show. Good news is that will definitely get better as they find themselves in more pressure packed situations.

On the 14th hole, Toph made another bogey and all Jimmy had to do was two putt…again! Thankfully this time he made his 6’ comebacker. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just two putt or just make a par. When you lower expectations, your trained competitive brain doesn’t know how to back off and try to play just average. Again…just stick to your regular game plan…you’ll be better off!

With a two shot lead, Jimmy hit his drive down the right side of the hole and found himself in the water on hole 15! He had all day left…that had to be frustrating! He bounced back and got up and down for a par! What a comeback!! Toph had a chance to get one back here but failed to take advantage. Jimmy’s made putt must have taken all the wind out of Toph’s sail. Going into the 16th hole, Toph was now dormie. For the second time, Jimmy failed to “just” two putt…and this one was for the win! No matter what happens on this show, he really needs to get his nerves under control. Toph just flat out hasn’t played great, but Jimmy’s putting clearly has crumbled under the pressure.

Toph has new life, with that win on 16! However, heading into the 17th hole, Toph is still in a must win situation. They both hit their drives in play and surprisingly Toph hit his approach into the greenside bunker! What is he doing? With shots like that, unfortunately he does not deserve to win this title. Jimmy’s putting was shaky all day, but his ball striking was nearly perfect.

Congratulations JIMMY! Way to hang in there from week 1. You started off as an underdog and slowly worked your way to be one of the strongest players of the season. You were steady, level headed and consistently got better week after week. Enjoy this moment and let this win bring you to a new level of confidence and maturity. After surviving 11 weeks of the most intense pressure, you are now fully prepared to take on any situation. Polish that putting and that pre-shot routine, and you will be golden. I’m looking forward to watching your career and your 2015 Valspar start!!

I can’t believe another season of Big Break has come to a close. We were introduced to a lot of up and coming players, witnessed some great golf and whole lot of passion.

Until next year!! 

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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x