Big Break's Annie & Kelly Provide Insight on Show 7

By Big BreakApril 21, 2014, 2:23 pm

Former Big Break Ireland competitors Annie Brophy and Kelly Jacques are back. Only this time, it is not to play on Big Break, but to lend their insight and provide some fun facts about the ladies of Big Break Florida.

Kelly: It’s been awhile since the last Big Break episode and I’m so excited that Annie and I are back!

Annie:  I’m sure our faithful readers have missed our insight terribly.  It was another great episode!

Kelly: As each episode airs, I continue to be impressed with the different and creative challenges that we are seeing! I especially love the twist in the first challenge. Choose to fire at either the money flag or the immunity flag. The girl who ends up closest to each pin wins.

Annie:  I wasn’t surprised most of the girls went for the immunity flag.  I was surprised at the poor shot execution.  And what about our girl Sadena missing the green?!  Come on!

Kelly: The only great shot that we saw during the first challenge came from Renee. She fired at the immunity flag and stuck it to 3’9’’. That proves that one great shot at the right time is all you need to get far on this show. Go relax girl and have a cold one!

Annie:  You’re absolutely right – timing is everything on Big Break.  That being said, Renee has also seemed so much more confident in the last couple episodes – I’m glad to see it!  She started off pretty slow, but hopefully she can keep this momentum going into the next couple shows!

Kelly: Once again, Fiamma just had to hit the green to win the challenge. The first time was to win immunity. This episode she successfully hit the green to win $7,500!! Yes please!

Annie: If only it was always so easy!  Kylee seemed pretty bitter afterwards in her interview.  She could have chosen that empty green as well.

Kelly: Ok, so I noticed the bow that Mary was wearing last week and I bit my tongue. This week, Sadena had a bow on her sweater and i’m seeing a Lindsay Aho theme here. She was known for her child like bows that she incorporated into each episode and it seems like she left her mark. I’m not sure how I feel about this, Annie would you wear a bow if you were friends with Lindsay?

Annie: Ha! I love that you brought that up here.  That’s a funny question. And an easy answer: No.  Mainly because I would look foolish with a big bow on my head.  I didn’t even notice that this was a Lindsay Aho thing until I saw these girls tweeting back and forth post-show.  Sharing is caring, I guess!

Kelly: During the second challenge, the girls were tested on their distance control. The farther back they chose to hit from, the more points their shots were worth. I loved Kristi’s aggressive game plan but you can’t miss the green on both shots and finish round one with zero points. Surprisingly, Sadena made the same mistake. It’s a fine line between being aggressive and being foolish.

Annie:  I loved this challenge because it made these girls incorporate strategy in choosing distances but most importantly they had to execute with their irons.  A lot of the challenges on this show have allowed the girls to stick with their wedges, so I like to see them have to stretch out a little. 

On a side note, I also really liked their Tom Abbott impressions in between commercials. I love his commentating on the show – especially when the girls hit bad shots.  And he is by far my favorite person to follow on twitter.  A man of many words: @tomabbottGC.

Kelly: I’ll have to check that out!  I felt so bad for Kristi when she lost by mere inches (once again) to Sadena in the tiebreaker. She hit a great shot under the pressure but unfortunately her ball spun back to finish outside the circle.  Now Kristi was faced with the decision of who to play against. She chose Kylee and Mary’s response didn’t surprise me at all. She told Kristi, “You actually know how to play golf”. Ok, well that’s kind of rude! I understand you want to pump up your friends, but by insulting others?

Annie:  I think Mary was pretty supportive of everyone on this episode – perhaps with this exception.  Although in her interview after the show, she acknowledged Kylee’s talent as a player.  Personally, I was pretty taken aback with Kylee’s attitude on this episode.  She felt like she was getting “ganged up on” because Kristi picked her over Sadena?  Um, maybe she just thinks you’re a weaker player than Sadena.  I doubt a single player would have chosen to play Sadena over Kylee and it has nothing to do with “cliques.” Just talent. She seemed like a pretty poor sport during the entire elimination challenge.  Not impressed.  Next.

Kelly: Kristi was up one shot going into the final two holes. Once Kylee hit her tee shot on the second hole into the hazard, I thought she was done. However, golf is a game where anything can happen. That was proven tonight as Kristi proceeded to blade her chip, then 3 putt for a double. Kylee hit an amazing chip from the hazard and a two shot swing was the result. That was hard to watch!

Annie: That was a clutch shot from Kylee!  And yes it was tough to watch Kristi crumble like that.  You could see she had so much adrenaline as she slammed putt after putt (after putt) past the hole.  It’s always rough to watch someone give it away like Kristi did on this hole.  And as a player, that’s the absolute worst way to go out!

And on then on the final hole, Kristi pushed it pretty badly off the tee.  Again, hard to watch, but it did prompt my favorite line of the show.  Sadena’s “why’s it over there?  There’s so much roooom!”  Thanks to the producers for a little comic relief! 

Kelly:  Kylee holed a lengthy putt to win in style and just like that, Kristi’s Big Break has ended. I thought she had a great run on the show. She displayed some great golf, won over a lot of fans, and played with dignity and respect. With more experience, I think Kristi has a lot of potential. Best of luck with everything girl and keep winning fans over with your class and your smile!

Annie:  I agree, Kelly, I thought she carried herself well throughout the whole show.  I don’t know Kristi, but I enjoyed watching her on this season.  She seems like a nice girl and hopefully golf will work out for her.  But now, on to the next one!  Next week looks to have some more great drama – which you know I love!

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."