Big Break Florida Finale Producer Blog

By Big Break ProducerMay 20, 2014, 11:23 am

If at First You Don’t Succeed…


Ok.  So I’ll just get this right out of the way.  This season’s finale was a blowout.  A thrashing.  A flogging.  A good ol’ fashioned donnybrook (ok, maybe that was not the right word, but I’ve always wanted to use it in a sentence).  From the 1st swing of the day, Jackie was in complete control of this match and never once gave Fiamma hope of a comeback.  Granted, Fiamma did a lot of this to herself, but much of this had to do with the fact that Jackie never once gave her a chance to sneak back in to the match.  Pars are your best friend in Match Play, and Jackie made BEST friends with the old man.  So, rather than muse on and on about what Fiamma could have done better (a few putts falling would have been HUGE), I’m gonna go a different route, as I tend to do.


Welcome to the final installment of this season’s incoherent thoughts and ramblings of Big Break Florida Lead Producer, Brendan Havens.


Assembling a cast for each season of Big Break is quite possibly the most important part of the pre-production stage.  Sure, everyone loves the Glass Break and all the other crazy challenges we pull together as a result of some super vivid fever dream, but it’s really the competitors and the dynamics between them that pull the whole thing together.  After all, these people are the reason you’ll be tuning in each and every week and if they can’t peak your interest, you have no series.  This is why it’s crazy to think that Jackie and Fiamma didn’t get cast the 1st time they auditioned.  In fact, each of them auditioned for the series four separate times (FOUR!!!) and each was on the alternate list at one point or another.  So, it actually seems rather fitting that these were the two players left standing in the final episode.


What took us so long, you may ask?  Well, the quick answer is that it wasn’t until this particular season that they both had the right fit for a cast of 12 aspiring professional golfers.  It’s a little more involved than that, though.  On this cast, in particular, half of them had previously auditioned at least once before being selected (Jackie, Fiamma, Mary, Renee, Kylee and Lauren).  This is actually more common than one may think.  Most of the recent casts we’ve put together are comprised of a handful of people that we’ve met once or twice during the audition process of previous seasons.  So, why is this?  There are many factors at play, but mainly it has to do with how we predict the interplay will be between the cast members.  We would never want a cast full of the same type of person.  In order to root for (or against, for that matter), each competitor needs to be unique onto themselves.  When we spend the majority of the series with a good number of competitors (generally, we don’t get down to 4 or 5 competitors until very late in the series), you need to be able to pick all the individuals out of the larger group.


For certain people, they just need another year (or two) to mature/find their own voice/get comfortable with who they are before we feel they’re ready to be put under the bright, bright lights of the Big Break competition.  And really, some just have a bad audition.  Simple as that.


The fact that Jackie and Fiamma not only kept chasing their dream of playing on the LPGA, but kept persisting on becoming part of the Big Break competition says a lot about who they are and what the character of their golf game consists of.  Because of her small stature, Fiamma’s never really been taken seriously as a professional golfer.  Although she didn’t bring her “A” game to the Championship Match, she’s proven over the course of this season that she really can play this game.  Jackie said it when we went to visit her in Vero Beach before the competition began.  Her whole life she’s been overlooked and discounted.  She was never highly recruited.  She was not expected to do anything of note out on the Symetra Tour.  She was never expected to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.  It only seems fitting that after trying so many times to get on the show, she took full advantage of the opportunity she was finally given.  Congratulations Jackie.  You’re (finally!) the Big Break Champion.

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.