Big Break Ireland Producer Blog: It's All About the Golf

By Constantin Preda, Big Break ProducerSeptember 28, 2011, 2:00 am


Talk about extremes. The first time I had the pleasure of field and post producing for Big Break, it was in the Dominican Republic.  Every single day on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola was defined by heat, humidity, cobalt blue and green oceans, plenty of rain, and some of the most intense golf challenges I’d seen on Big Break to date. I didn’t think it could get more surprising. That was until I landed on the Emerald Isle and found myself in the complete opposite of environments. Freezing cold temperatures, gusts of wind that reached up to 50-miles an hour, farm lands dappled with sheep as far as the eye could see, and castles dating as far back as the 12th century – I had never felt or seen anything like it and I was excited to be there.

My first assignment was to meet up with a few of our competitors who had flown in from different parts of the U.S.: Whitney, a charming golfer from South Carolina who may have had been perceived as naïve by some of the other competitors - but I think they confused kindness with weakness. Whitney is not weak and that showed in her fire during her elimination challenge.  Even though she had been eliminated in episode one by Bennett, I think we all still saw her athleticism and I know there will be more great golf moments from her in years to come. It was sad to see her go.

Speaking of Bennett, I could tell he automatically saw himself as a leader. While the others may have seen him as somewhat of a black sheep, I think his strategy is to not get too close to the others, because they had all been told there would be only one winner of Big Break Ireland. Bennett, an Orlando, Florida resident, is laser-focused on that win. Hopefully, he’ll be able to cut loose a little. Only time on the show will tell.

And then there is the complete opposite of Bennett: Mark Murphy. Mark is originally from Waterville, Kerry, Ireland and now a resident of my favorite city in the world, “Nawlins”, Louisiana. The golfer’s got jokes and not only did he keep spirits light in show one, but he may have been a key ingredient to his team’s win. Yeah, things didn’t quite pan out in show two for Team Liffey, but something tells me Mark’s ‘laissez les bon temps rouler’ attitude may be an asset to him. And he pretty much made me, and the crew, laugh every day – even while enduring the wind chills and icy rain. I still even laugh while in the edit bay as my editor and I put together some of his more light-hearted moments.

I guess what I’m attempting to point out is that the personalities on Big Break Ireland are as colorful, enigmatic, and lush as Ireland itself. It could be Andy’s intensity on the course – most likely from years spent playing professionally – to his sense of humor when he chunks it out of the bunker. Or the often reserved and quiet Nina who absolutely proved her fearlessness and ability by speaking out in breakfast against Bennett and then backing her bark up with her bite by winning her match against Mallory. Or Matt, the rugged, tough Scottsdale, Arizona resident originally from Mulanje, Malawi, Africa who cuts loose with Mark as the two of them play great golf and goof around.

However, more important than the personalities of Big Break Ireland’s competitors is their ability to play great golf. Kelly going toe-to-toe with Nicole to keep her match square, Matt’s monster 25-ft putt to win his match and surprise Bennett, or Julien’s putt that beat Mark and effectively turned the tide toward Team Straffan…absolutely amazing. As Mallory stated, “We thought we had it in the bag…” but she thought too soon and the win was ripped from Team Liffey forcing Team Captain Mallory to take not one, but two of her own teammates into the Elimination Challenge.

That’s when I saw the friendliness between the girls of Team Liffey all but disappear. Kelly was annoyed that Mallory selected her. She felt that it showed how scared Mallory may have been to compete against a guy. Annie, who was on the Big Break to redeem her reputation as the golfer “busted” for supposedly cheating in her last tournament at Notre Dame – resulting in a disqualification – wanted to come out of the elimination challenge unscathed. Annie can golf. She essentially pulled a prank in her last college tournament in which she reported her genuine scores on her score card, but joked with a rep from – reporting a birdie on each hole – and the rules officials didn’t find the prank sportsman like. However, we’ve all done something ridiculous in college and only in hindsight do we see the folly of our ways.

After Mallory saves herself from elimination by successfully putting two balls on the green of the 18th hole at the Palmer Smurfit Course, Kelly and Annie are left to square off, head to head, to see who will stay and who will be eliminated.

It all came down to the final location in which Annie plops her ball in the water. It was a tough shot and as Kelly put it, she “wished she could have told [Annie] to not hit that shot” the way she had, but it’s “cutthroat.” In the elimination challenge, the team aspect of the competition goes out the window and it becomes every golfer for herself. In the end, Kelly beats Annie and, in tears, Annie is eliminated. But don’t write Annie off any time soon. She’s an athlete, she made it to show two, and she is playing a full schedule on the LPGA Futures Tour in 2011. Expect more from her and much more from Big Break Ireland in the next show aptly titled “The Fighting Irish”. 

Tune in next week... Tuesday night, 9PM Eastern.

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."