The working title for Chapter Three of Big Break Greenbrier was “Bomb Shelter”. But, at the suggestion of segment editor Derek Locke, the more apt title “Bombs Away” was adopted. That subtle change made a world of difference, because in this episode there were plenty of bombs delivered.
The first came at breakfast, where the contestants received their first envelope of the new season. That “bombshell” revealed not only that the players would be squaring off in head-to-head matches, but that some of them would be choosing their opponents.
The only problem? They didn’t know what the game was going to be. Boom.
It was a good way to get inside the mind of those competitors that were doing the picking. No one was surprised when Mark selected Anthony – least of all Anthony himself. The Jersey boy has been generally regarded as the least stable of the competitors, and Mark saw this as the best combination of how to win and how not to lose.
Chan’s selection of Brian seemed pretty clearly predicated on performance. Chan’s gut (which, unlike Anthony’s, is not tattooed) told him Brian. But Chan’s mind was basically saying I think I can beat Brian, regardless of the challenge. It may have worked, but since Chan’s mind also selected the wrong club in his first chance at immunity, the rest of Chan was headed for another challenge.
Then came Stu. Stu chose to play Ray simply because he enjoys Ray’s company. Presumably, Stu does not enjoy Ray’s driving ability. At least not anymore. Stu’s selection was a perfect display of his amiable nature on the show. And maybe if it were a short game challenge, things would have worked out differently. But, as it was, not even Stu’s most powerful laser beam could have saved him once Ray went deep.
Isaac chose Mike as his opponent in the first Immunity Challenge, saying he wanted to take one of the better players out of the competition. The pick illustrated “Sasquatch’s” confidence in his ability, his lack of fear and his willingness to gamble. This is a guy who knows what it’s like to risk his rent money on his golf game.
Out on the course, the bombs began to fly.
The first challenge of the day was unique in that all matches were guaranteed to end with a failure, and not a success. Miss the fairway, or come up short of your opponent’s distance, and you lose.
The decisions by Ray and Isaac to hit driver were met with some criticism from the bench in Safe City, but in essence, they were putting all of the power in their own hands while simultaneously putting all of the pressure on their own shoulders. Hit the fairway this one time, and you can’t be beat.
Boom. Boom. Safe, and on to the next show. It wouldn’t be a stretch to wonder if at least one crew member had to change underpants after hearing ‘Squatch yell at his golf ball.
The bombs continued to drop in the ensuing challenges. Mike made some noise in earning safety with his second shot in the Tin-Cup inspired “one-club” challenge. (What do you think was my best shot? Was it the 5-iron off the tee? The 5-iron on the green? Or maybe it was that shot from the fairway, which to my recollection was a 5-iron!)
But the biggest bomb of the day was dropped by Anthony, directly on Stu. It will go down as one of the best putts in Big Break history, a fact which probably comforts Stu little. For reasons I’m still not sure, Stu’s term of choice for Anthony’s monster putt was the “blow-snake”, and it was the death blow to Stu’s Big Break dream. Not even the Greenbrier bunker could have sheltered Stu from such a stunner.
Boom. Eliminated. Bummer, dog.
A few final words on Stu... While he may have seemed a little out there at times, he left a noticeable mark on the Greenbrier series in just a short time. In the next episode, you’ll get a better idea of just what kind of impact Stu had on his fellow competitors.
From the time he got hooked on pain killers after suffering a back injury as a teenager, it’s been an all-out war on substances for Stu that most of us will never have the misfortune of experiencing. Forget bombs and blow-snakes, immunity and elimination. Stu will likely face much tougher challenges for the rest of his life.
Only now, he’ll have 11 more allies on his side to help him fight the battle.
Bombs Over Greenbrier
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.