Insight on Show 1 by Big Break’s Kelly Jacques

By Big Break ProducerOctober 13, 2014, 5:57 pm

Former Big Break Ireland competitor and LPGA/Symetra Tour professional Kelly Jacques is back to lend her insight on Big Break Myrtle Beach.  Each week, Kelly will give you her thoughts on that week’s show, including what the pressure is like, since she has been there before. She also will provide you with some behind-the-scenes info on the cast – Kelly has played alongside a few of them on the Symetra Tour the past few years.  While she has no knowledge of any results on the series, she will offer up thoughts on her favorites – and some non-favorites – on Big Break Myrtle Beach.  When not providing her Big Break commentary, Kelly works for GolfNow.com, Golf Channel’s official online tee-times provider.

Big Break Myrtle Beach: Episode 1

Welcome back Big Break enthusiasts! Another season is upon us and based off the first episode, it’s not going to disappoint! In this 22nd season, we have 5 All-Americans, a 19 year old who turned professional after high school, a 35 year old mom of 2, the Latvian Amateur Champion, two guys with type 1 diabetes, an LPGA Class A teaching professional, a USGA Champion and the stories go on. These contestants have very different backgrounds and stories but they do have one thing in common…they came to win. They are willing to endure the intense pressure and put their game to the test for the opportunity to win over $100,000 in cash and prizes and the coveted prize of getting to tee it up with the best in the world on the PGA/LPGA Tour!

 Big Break Myrtle Beach - Episode 1

Let the viewing begin!

The twists and turns start right away with the reveal of the Super Immunity. This will give one contestant the opportunity to bypass an elimination challenge in the future. This is huge!!! They are playing as individuals this season, so having that security blanket has the potential to change the whole game, and it was all decided the first episode.

The players were asked to choose a colored golf ball. It was revealed the next morning that the color they chose, determines who they will be competing against in the first challenge….the glass break! They were in groups of three and the fastest two contestants to break their glass moved on and were still eligible to win the Super Immunity. The two standout players here were Carolin and Charlie. Carolin, who has a bright smile and an even brighter personality, took the fast approach and broke the glass on her first try, setting the bar high. Charlie stuck with his methodical game plan and it paid off…this time. He broke the glass on his first try as well but took his time. Some people did not like this approach but I think it was brilliant, but only because he stuck with his game plan. Under that type of pressure in a timed event, is hard to do. Kudos Charlie!

Four players moved onto the second of three stages to determine the super immunity winner. Thanks to producer Chris Graham, they were faced with a risk reward shot from behind a tree. Their ultimate goal was to get their second shot as close to the pin as possible, with the top 4 advancing. Everyone chipped out except Jimmy who advanced it closer to the green, but left himself with a tough short wedge from the rough. In a normal situation, I would definitely say chipping out to set up your second shot is the play. However, he had nothing to lose! There wasn’t elimination that day and no order of ranks would be set based off their performance. So why not?! I think that was a risk worth taking…it didn’t pan out this time…but way to have guts Jimmy, go big or go home!

Tessa and Charlie were at the top hitting it 1’1’’ and 3’ respectfully with Dave and Carolin making the cut as well at 4’9’’ and 5’5’’. Tessa, way to make your quiet presence known and stick it! She seems rather shy, but if she keeps hitting shots like that, who cares! I’m guessing this full time LET Player is going to let her game do the talking.

The remaining four players battled it out in 1-on-1 matches. Charlie beat out Dave with a birdie and Tessa beat out Carolin with a par. Charlie and Tessa advanced to the reachable par 5 for the final match. Charlie pulled 3-wood and split the fairway a good 300 yards. I think this rattled Tessa; she looked comfortable all day but started looking uneasy. Caroline hit it down the right side then into the left greenside bunker. Charlie proceeded to make birdie and capture the sought-after Super Immunity. This prize is huge. It not only gives him a safety net, but it will free him up to play his game, while the other players will continue to stress over every shot, knowing one bad swing can send them home.

After episode 1, I’m impressed with Charlie Harrison from Atlanta, Ga. He’s solid tee to green and has the confidence to do very well in this competition. Before the show he said, “It’s uncomfortable to feel nervous, but if you can be comfortable feeling uncomfortable, then you’re going to have a pretty good time out there”. For never having a lesson, I’m impressed, and at this time I’m going to say he is the one to beat, especially with that attitude.

Until next week…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Web.com 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.