The Big Delay

By Brendan Havens, Big Break ProducerMay 17, 2011, 2:30 am

What you saw in the premiere was not a fabricated incident; a solely made-for-TV moment designed for your entertainment, and only your entertainment in mind.  No, no.  Unlike most of the other “reality” TV we’re all inundated with these days, we present the actual “reality” of what happens during the filming of the series.  So yes, Kent really was “defacto-booted” from that flight.  It was only pure luck and/or excellent snap-decision making that made his late arrival what it turned out to be.  It also was a perfect summation to what had already become a very trying lead-in to the first shoot date of Big Break Indian Wells

The filming of this series took place from January 3rd - 16th, with “essential crew” (Production Management, Producers, Directors, etc.) arriving on site just a couple of days after Christmas.  This window of production time would prove to be…um…difficult.  To say that shooting a television series over the holidays is not ideal, is like the Black Night in Monty Python and the Holy Grail saying “it’s just a flesh wound” after having both arms cut off.  It’s a wicked understatement. 

I spent the holidays with my family, as I usually do, up in Maryland.  With my flight out to Indian Wells booked for 7am, the morning of the 28th of December (out of Orlando), the plan was to stay up north thru Christmas Day and fly back to Orlando that evening, leaving a full 2 days to tie up all loose ends before shipping off for the 3-week shoot.  Easy, right?  Well, as you can expect, things didn’t go as planned.  I somehow managed to have three flights cancelled in the span of 24 hours leaving me stranded in Maryland for another two days.  With the weather continually deteriorating, I would be lucky to get out on the 27th.  Now, 99.9% of the time I would welcome these unexpected extra days with the fam.  However, a 7am flight scheduled to leave Orlando on the 28th was looming and there is just simply a ton o’ stuff to accomplish before uprooting yourself for the better part of a month.  There’s enough stress during the holidays.  This was one kind I had no interest in taking on. 

Luckily, the flight I was eventually booked on after the three cancellations was able to get out of Maryland on the 27th.  I got back home late that afternoon, took stock of the situation and did what was necessary; changed the flight from 7am to 7pm for the next day.  Getting two days of stuff done in a couple hours just wasn’t going to happen.  So, all things considered, I really didn’t end up too bad.  I made it to Indian Wells.  Delayed slightly, but still made it on the target date.  Of course, I’d like to say that my ordeal was the only travel snag that our Production Management staff would have to deal with.  That would surely not be the case. 

Multiple members of the production team hit some minor travel snags on the way (delayed flights coming from the Northeast, missed connections, etc.), but none of great consequence.  One of the more extended delays was experienced by our Managing Director, Paul Schlegel.  He was stranded in snow-swamped Syracuse, New York for five days…with his in-laws.  Without access to wireless internet (apparently the in-laws didn’t have it), he spent each day at the library so he could field emails as the pre-shoot preparations commenced in California.  I couldn’t help but laugh when I called him upon my on-site arrival, only to get an immediate email stating, “Can’t talk now.  In a library.  Call you later.” 

Even Robbie (aka: “Shank”) experienced some travel problems himself as can be seen in a exclusive.  Due to an “equipment problem”, “Shank” got delayed over two hours leaving South Carolina, which left him sprinting to the gate to make his connection to Palm Springs, only to find out that his connecting flight was also delayed because of another “equipment problem”.  The plane needed to be switched out with another (smaller) plane in order to get the majority of people out of Phoenix and into Palm Springs.  This was the flight that Kent was supposed to be on. 

When we got word that Kent didn’t make the flight, we had to figure out in a matter of minutes a new plan for how Show 1 would begin.  The original plan was to have two groups of guys arrive at the airport, get their number to the safe, get to Indian Wells, then have John arrive last with the final number to the combination.  With Kent now having to arrive by himself, we needed to adjust the day’s production schedule to not only accommodate his now late, lone arrival, but figure out how this would fit into the whole “safe opening” section of the arrivals.  So, there were two options.  He could be re-booked on a flight which wouldn’t get in until later that evening, or we could rent a car service to drive him from Phoenix to Indian Wells which would get him in just about the same time.  So we made our decision.  As you saw in tonight’s episode, we got him a car service and he was escorted to Indian Wells (along with our PR guy Jeremy Friedman, who was also “defacto-booted” from the flight).  So, why did we decide on that?  Story and entertainment value.  If we put Kent on a plane, we now lose an ongoing thread (that we can document for TV) for the eventual conclusion to the “what’s in the safe” story.  Of course, we got lucky that Kent was one of the guys we sent a FlipCam to before the shoot.  We got lucky that Jeremy is such a good sport and agreed without hesitation to shoot pieces of the 4-hour drive with Kent.  Heck, we got lucky that having John arrive without a number to the safe combination made the arrivals section that much more interesting. 

Ok, so maybe in a way we did fabricate this made-for-TV moment just for the sole reason of entertainment.  But that’s what really happened.  And honestly, with all the travel tribulations a number of us had to endure just to make it to the shoot, I feel like this “story” represented the true “reality” of what this lead-in to Big Break Indian Wells was truly all about.  Holiday travel sucks.

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CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.) 

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Teenager Im wins season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Full-field scores from The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.