Worst. Breakfast. EVER.

By Brendan Havens, Big Break ProducerJune 28, 2011, 2:00 am

Necessary?  Maybe.  Highly intriguing development?  For sure.  Diabolical?  Um…YEAH.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, what I speak of is none other than that God awful message Carl had to read at the breakfast table before John and Petey’s eggs even had an opportunity to get cold.  “Instant Elimination Match”.  If there were a taste that could have described the way the two of them must have felt after hearing that, it must have been like drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth.  If a sound could describe it, the phrase “we need to talk” coming out of your girlfriend’s mouth comes to mind.  I could continue to go on and come up with a description for the remaining three senses I haven’t touched upon, but I won’t waste your time.  We’ve all got better things to concentrate on. 

For those who had their doubts about the significance of one’s position on that money list, I believe the gigantic thud you just heard was that theory falling flat on its face.  As we all witnessed last night, the competitors’ lack of money can have highly significant consequences (and not just when it comes to the half-stroke purchase option in the Elimination Challenges).  As the competition makes its final turn toward the home stretch, careless spending and poor performances will make for some VERY difficult days for those in the lower recesses of the money list.  Of course, given the events that transpired in the show’s second Elimination Challenge, this most certainly translates into some bad news for you David fans…but that’ll have to wait ‘till next week…I digress…

As detailed by yours truly in Week Four’s blog entry 'You Gotta Know When to Hold Em', these challenge ideas/show structures are planned out months before a single camera rolls on the first bit of drama inflicted by our fiendish challenge formats.  This Instant Elimination Challenge was a direct byproduct of adding the Playback Challenge into our series’ arsenal of twists and turns.  With the addition of former players thrown back into the competition mid series, the elimination numbers get thrown completely out of whack.  To explain, it’s now time for a little Big Break math lesson.  We get ten episodes in a season.  If we cast 11 competitors, and eliminate one per week, that leaves us with two for the finale.  It’s a pretty simple formula.  The problem is, once we have an episode where one competitor is added and none are subtracted, the numbers don’t work out any more.  Now you get into a situation like that stupid word problem we all had to answer on the SAT’s: “If two trains leave from different stations, one 40 miles away, the other 25 miles away…

The simple solution is to eliminate two in an episode to even out the numbers.  Although, for all you math wizards out there, I can hear you saying right at this moment; “but we’re still currently on track for a three-person finale…”  Well, you’re right.  We are.  Is that what will happen though?  Once again, I digress…

Eliminating two competitors in an episode isn’t unheard of in Big Break lore.  We spent the better part of an entire series (Big Break: Reunion) eliminating two per episode.  In Big Break Prince Edward Island, we eliminated two in the episode before the finale.  So, when trying to figure out a way to get rid of two competitors after the playback, we obviously knew we needed a double elimination somewhere.  But, how could we do it differently than we’ve done in the past?  Well, taking into account the overall structure of the series (the money list), adding in an educated guess as to what kind of state the money list would be in after the playback show, and factoring in the possibility of the extra half-stroke being purchased at times during the preceding episodes, the maniacal masterpiece rose like a phoenix from the ashes.  OK, so maybe that was just a tad dramatic, but I do believe one of us let loose a patented “Dr. Evil laugh” immediately after the idea hit the air.

The craziest part of all this was the anticipation, on the Producer’s part, leading up to this episode.  Knowing that this Instant Elimination was coming from the very beginning of filming, the second “Shank” started rolling that half-stroke purchase snowball down the hill, I could not wait to see who would aid in their own demise by essentially buying their way into this Instant Elimination Challenge.  And to be honest, one of the main reasons why we structured this challenge the way we did was to reinforce that there would, in fact, be some form of retribution for those who did decide to (some would say carelessly) spend thousands of dollars on an extra ½ shot advantage.  So, when John needlessly gave away half his stack in last week’s episode, you can understand the feeling as our evil plan came to fruition.  John, you’re an awesome dude and a super nice guy, but this made for damn good TV.

So, was the Instant Elimination necessary?  Well, aside from the essential task of knocking down the numbers of competitors, in my mind it was.  As Kent said last night, “I think everyone got too comfortable buying the half-shot.”

Was this a highly intriguing development?  In the competitors’ eyes, it sure was.  These guys, during the course of their stay on the show, basically live in a world that we’ve created for them.  What we say is the law, so if we say that one of the bottom-two on the money list will be eliminated first thing in the morning, all they can do is accept it.  Due to this Instant Elimination twist, they now know that really anything is possible at this point.

Was it diabolical?  Damn straight it was.

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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."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.