Big Break Ireland Producer Blog: Why the Big Cup?

By TJ Hubbard, Big Break ProducerOctober 12, 2011, 2:00 am

The Big Cup! Why the Big Cup? Tournaments all across the country are now utilizing these to increase pace of play, increase fun and to give golfers a new look.  

Big Break
is a two-week rollercoaster of emotions for the players and one way to change up the game was to change the size of the hole (6 inches instead of 4.25).  We concentrated the IMMUNITY challenges around the green for the CHIP-IN factor.  If a player holed-out in any of their matches, their opponent would have to do the same.  It was the threat that a match could be over in one swing or a trip to the elimination from one shot that we sought; that’s the type of mental strain diabolical producers seek out to ensure these players NEVER see what’s coming.

Liffey Losing Streak
We are now in the midst of a three-episode losing streak for Team Liffey.  The opportunities have been there for Liffey to win but the more they lose, the more it stings and the ELIMINATION of Kelly stung deeply.  Once again, it came down to Mark trying to win it for his team.  He had two shots to win it for his team. Mark asked for the opportunity and once again (another show in a row), Mark’s short game didn’t come through.  Mini-Bio on Murph: Three Irish Opens (one cut made); career low round: 61; represented County Kerry for several years as an amateur, and is a former PGA TOUR caddie.  HE HAS GAME! Mark confided in me later that night that his game feels good and he’s ready to put these failures behind him… question is, can he?

Nicole’s Great Play    
Nicole has (not quietly) become one of the strongest players left in Ireland.  She is right up there at the top looking down.  Her chip-in cemented her as a great leader and a clutch performer… looking through my notes after today’s show… bold letters at the top, “Right now, Nicole is the player to beat.”

Clutch Mallory
Mallory will receive a new nickname next show…one that is well deserved: “The Eliminator”.  Three eliminations in a row…three victories (this one closed nicely with birdie).  Not since Danielle Aimee in Big Break Three has a competitor been sent through elimination so often.  I believe Danielle went to elimination a total of four times in her season…Mallory has gone three times in four shows!  After our production wrapped, Mallory qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open – NO SURPRISE!  She was rolling the stone in Ireland like Bob Dylan.

Goodbye Kelly
Seriously one of the most inspiring ladies I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.  Kelly Jacques (pronounced – Jacks) is a super-positive woman, with loads of golfing talent that has been waiting for her Big Break… this was hers.  I don’t say this often and am not one for hyperbole…she’s got what it takes and as special as it was to audition her, it was exceptional to see her perform.  Best of luck!

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.