Reflecting on First Half of the Season

By Big Break ProducerNovember 21, 2012, 1:00 pm

We have reached the halfway point of Big Break Greenbrier – what was a cast of 12 are now 6.  It is customary that when we get to this point in the series we ask the players to reflect on their Big Break journeys thus far. Here are their perspectives in their own words:

Rick Cochran:  “Everybody remaining has got a chance at winning.  You know all it takes is one good shot, or on the opposite of that, one bad shot and you’re going home.”

Brian Cooper: “If you can’t believe that being a champion is a reality for you, you shouldn't be here. Of course I think it’s a possibility!”Mark Silvers: “I really do believe that I can win but I also have to keep in mind that it doesn't take much, especially at this point, in the show to get the boot.”

Isaac Sanchez:” I definitely think becoming a PGA Tour champion is a reality for me. As long as I stay on the path that I’m on and work on the things I need to work on and it’ll only be a matter of time.”

James Lepp: “I had kind of a rough last couple episodes and if you asked me three episodes ago if I could be a true Big Break champion, I would say, yeah. I still believe it but I will say that the pressure that the Big Break brings is a lot different than anything I’ve experienced.”

Anthony Casalino: “Wanting to win and thinking you can win are two different things. I wanted to have that money; I wanted to be able to play in The Greenbrier Classic. It sucks; I mean I don’t know what else to say about it, I don’t know what to do.”

I put Anthony’s sound last to highlight a distinct difference between players that can play and players that believe they can play. Once you reach the pinnacle of any sport a definitive separation appears at the top – and it’s exclusively divided by BELIEF. 

Anthony is a VERY talented golfer but he’s also eliminated for one obvious reason – he didn’t believe he could play. He outlasted Ray Beaufils (former tour player) and Mike Tobiason (played in the 2011 US Open) and several other quality golfers which should be something for him to hang his hat on.  The question is, can he? Will he?

In nine years of producing golf television, I’ve had the honor to stand next to the number one player in the world and watch him (and her) hit golf ball after golf ball on the range. I followed the PGA Tour for two years covering news and instruction.  I have been to every major mini-tour in America and have seen over 3,000 professional golfers swing a club. I’ve been on 13 separate Big Break shoots.  I’m not going to say Anthony Casalino was the best golfer I’ve ever seen…that would not be true.  I will say that Anthony’s game can be and sometimes was quite impressive.

One final Anthony anecdote:

I produced Anthony’s biography video in New York and watched him hit 5/5 fairways and 7/7 greens after not hitting a single warm up shot and after two practice swings.  He was giving Cliff Katz a playing lesson during our shoot and I was struck by the quality and the crispness of Anthony shots.  He shaped his golf ball the way he intended and maneuvered around the course with precision. While this may not impress any of you, it certainly made me appreciate Big Break Greenbrier’s version of “Eeyore.”

Moving on…

We have reached the Final 5!!!


Going into this series, I promised great golf and great competition.  I don’t think I need to point out the great shots from this show but allow me to highlight a few key moments.

Isaac’s 2nd drive in the Avis Extra Effort Immunity Challenge traveled 302 yards and was ‘technically’ 1 yard off-line.  Because of our scoring system, we rounded to the nearest yard and because Isaac’s drive didn’t land ON THE LINE, he lost 1 yard when he ACTUALLY measured just 1 foot and 7 inches away from the center line.  That was fun to see… and in the next episode you’re going to see a shot Isaac hits that comes down to mere inches with Immunity on the line.

Rick Cochran is the shortest (height) competitor left on the series.  And if you asked anyone of the cast WHO hits it the longest (Isaac included) EVERYONE would say Rick.  That’s impressive especially when you factor in Rick’s ball flight is a cut which means little to no roll. Although Rick ONLY hit a drive of 307 yards… coming back to the bench, Rick was mad.  Later that night, Rick was pissed off because “DRIVING is what I do,” he told me.

Brian Cooper HATES misses golf shots.  I don’t know if you noticed, Brian has the tendency to get a LITTLE angry when things don’t go his way. And if you’ve seen his outbursts then chances are you’ve seen his responses. EVERY time Brian has vented and taken out his frustration on benches, clubs, water bottles and empty golf ball boxes, he finds a way to channel his focus in a positive manner. Brian would have recorded the only perfect score in the approach challenge had it not been for a rogue train conductor.

The PGA Tour average for Greens hit from 125-150 yards for the 2012 season was 73.4%.  Our approach challenge in this show had the guys hitting from 140 yards, with 6 guys hitting 3 shots each… that equals… (4 plus 7…carry the 1…) 18!  How many guys from the show missed the green? 0, zero, none, nobody.  Pretty good. 

Mark Silvers wins again and not just with AVIS… Mark qualified for Final Stage of Q-School this week and heads to California in December to pursue his dream of playing on the PGA Tour. This has been a tough year for Mark off the course; he lost his father three weeks before we began filming the show in June.  Mark said that he knows “he’s looking down smiling” as a “proud father” after all he’s accomplished this year:  a solid season on the NGA Tour where he finished 3rd on the money list that included a win and 10 top-10’s in 13 total events. Best of luck to Mark – you earned it!

Final note:

James averted another elimination challenge after Isaac selected Anthony marking the second time in four shows that’s happened. The 2005 NCAA Champ and two-time Canadian Tour winner NEEDS to pick up his game.  The rust is certainly showing… anyone have any suggestions?

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Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

“Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

“And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

“So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westage Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1 leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

8/1: Tiger Woods

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

50/1: Alex Noren

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner

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NBC Sports' Final Round Coverage of Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard Scores Highest-Rated Overnight at Event in Six Years

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 19, 2018, 5:42 pm

Arnold Palmer Invitational and Valspar Championship Post Two Highest-Rated Final Round PGA TOUR Telecasts (Non-Majors) on Any Broadcast Network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship

ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2018 – Record viewership of the PGA TOUR continued this weekend for NBC Sports Group at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC (2-6:45 p.m. ET) delivered a 3.6 overnight rating, +136% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated final round at this event in six years. Combined with last week’s final round viewership at the Valspar Championship (5.1 overnight rating) these rank as the two highest-rated final round PGA TOUR telecasts (non-majors) on any broadcast network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Golf Channel’s Sunday final-round lead-in coverage earned a .97 overnight rating, the highest at this event in five years. Across NBC and Golf Channel’s coverage, more than 12 million minutes were streamed, +683% vs. 2017.


  • Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC peaked to a 4.89 from 5:15-5:30 p.m. ET.
  • Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage peaked to a 1.24 from 1:30-2 p.m. ET.


Saturday’s third round coverage earned a 2.29 overnight rating on NBC (2:30-6 p.m. ET), +92% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated at this event in five years. Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage (Noon-2:30 p.m. ET) earned a .95 overnight rating, +126% vs. 2017. Nearly 5.3 million minutes were streamed, +511% vs. 2017.


Friday’s second-round coverage on Golf Channel generated a .81 overnight rating, +153% vs. 2017 and the second highest-rated early round at this event on Golf Channel (2007-2018), just slightly behind the 2012 second round (.84). More the 4.2 million minutes were streamed on Golf Channel Digital, +682% vs. 2017.


Final numbers from Golf Channel’s opening round coverage on Thursday: .42 U.S. HH rating and 593,000 viewers, +56% vs. 2017 and the most-watched opening round at this event since 2011. More than 1.4 million minutes were streamed, +163% vs. 2017.


Four of the top-20 players in the world, Jon Rahm (No. 3), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 11), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 16) and Pat Perez (No. 19) are scheduled to join the live World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Bracket Special tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The 90-minute live primetime special will originate from Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, and feature golf’s own version of a March bracket-style tournament selection format under the guidance of PGA TOUR competition officials.


NBC Sports Group will feature nearly 35 live hours of tournament coverage from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Golf Channel will carry live coverage of round robin matches Wednesday-Friday, March 21-23. On Saturday, March 24, Golf Channel will provide coverage of the Round of 16, followed by the Quarterfinals matches airing on NBC. On Sunday, March 25, Golf Channel will showcase the Semifinals matches, followed by the Championship and Consolation matches airing on NBC.


-NBC Sports Group-

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Love to play first Champions major at U.S. Senior Open

By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 4:00 pm

Davis Love III turned 50 in 2014, but he’s been a part-time participant on the PGA Tour Champions.

Since turning 50, Love – who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last fall – has played 73 tournaments on the PGA Tour, but just nine on the over-50 circuit.

Although his competitive dance card might not be changing any time soon, Love is expanding his schedule, adding the U.S. Senior Open to his line up this year.

The U.S. Senior Open will be played June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The championship will be Love’s first senior major, and his third event this year on the Champions circuit; but he’s not prepared to leave the regular tour behind just yet.

“The Senior PGA is against Colonial [Fort Worth Invitational], again. I want to play Colonial. I love Colonial, I’d like to play there another time or two,” Love said. “But the timing for the Senior Open worked out and it’s at the Broadmoor, which is really nice.”