The Greatest Story Not Yet Told

By Brendan Havens, Big Break ProducerMay 5, 2011, 9:50 pm

Everyone has a story.  To fully appreciate some, you must dig deep, while others can be understood and immediately loved on its very base layer.  Some stories are sad, some are uplifting and some just make you shake your head in disbelief.  Not everybody’s story is worth repeating, but for some…their story just needs to be told.  This is how I feel about this season’s cast of Big Break. 

Coming off the production of my last Big Break (Big Break Sandals Resorts) I felt that from top to bottom, the cast was one of my favorites.  I mean, how can you not love a cast that features Sara Brown, Carling Coffing, Lili Alvarez and Seema Sadekar (just to name a few).  However, for as much as I enjoyed working with them and putting together a TV series based on their experiences during the course of the competition, I still felt like something was missing.  What was that missing ingredient?  Story. 

That being said, the Sandals cast was not completely devoid of intriguing storylines (Ryann and Maiya’s “rivalry/renewed friendship” from their UCLA days, Lili playing to represent Mexico in Lorena Ochoa’s LPGA tournament, Sara nearly quitting golf before being chosen to compete in the series….  The only thing was, all members of the cast were basically the same age and were competing on one of the major women’s mini tours (with the exception of Chris Brady, but she had just recently retired from the “mini tour life”).  Sure, they had their individual stories, but they were all basically wrapped up with identical wrapping paper.  Always trying to continually improve the series, this got me thinking about how we should go about casting the next series,  Big Break Indian Wells

Upon completion of Big Break Sandals Resorts post production, the Big Break Dominican Republic team was just returning from the shooting of their series, with the casting focus for that season being abundantly clear.  Cram every outrageous personality/fan favorite from past seasons into two houses and watch the crate of dynamite explode.  Now, being an “outsider” of sorts during that production (I was not involved in that season), I was immensely entertained at the “guilty pleasure” aspect of that cast.  I liken it to being hungry and reaching for a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  They are delicious, enjoyable, and satisfy an immediate craving, but when it comes down to it, they’re really just empty calories with no nutritional value…but damn are they good!  If Sandals was a collection of good storylines presented in similar packaging, Dominican Republic was a compilation of crazily entertaining soundbites that may have lacked a bit of nutrition.  So, when faced with the all important task of who the next Big Break cast would be comprised of, we took stock of our “nutritional content” over the last few years.  There was one ingredient that we had been neglecting for some time: Story. 

Our main goal for the casting of Big Break Indian Wells was to put together a collection of guys with 11 different stories to tell, all completely packaged in their own personal wrapping paper.  We still did our open casting calls at the men’s mini tours, but we put a much higher concentration on the online applications this time around in order to find those especially unique stories.  This season’s cast reflects this approach.  Sure, there are still a few out of the 11 that have significant mini tour experience, but for the first time in a number of seasons, the majority of the competitors are just regular guys with a great golf game who just need a break. 

Everyone has a story.  Eleven are about to be told. 

Don’t miss your chance to meet the players and see what is in store for this season of Big Break by watching the preview show of Big Break Indian Wells Sunday, May 8 9PM ET only on Golf Channel. 

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.