'Cead Mile Failte'

By TJ Hubbard, Big Break ProducerSeptember 21, 2011, 2:00 am


“Cead Mile Failte” translates from Gaelic as “One-Hundred Thousand Welcomes”. The Irish are inherently a welcoming nation and nothing was truer upon our arrival at the K Club. In the past, we’ve visited many beautiful resorts that have attracted some of the best competitions played by the world’s greatest golfers ... however a Ryder Cup course was a Big Break first.

Series overview:
The concept of Big Break Ireland is to take aspiring and potentially great golfers, both men and women, and from our cast of 12... We get one WINNER.  In the past, our co-ed competitions have featured teams and separate gender competitions, but this time they all play together.  I’ve wanted to do this concept for Big Break for several seasons and we had something similar to this format in Prince Edward Island, but not quite.

Big Break Ireland is about the team and in true Ryder Cup fashion, about the captain.  On the line for the captain of the day is $5,000 if their team wins... however, if their team loses the IMMUNITY Challenge, that player is guaranteed a non-stop, direct ticket to the ELIMINATION Challenge.  The call-out factor is the component of Big Break that allows team issues, personal issues and personal vendettas to be settled on the course, as it should be. For example, Bennett wanting to call out Whitney; while she did display some strong points, Bennett felt compelled to go after the little North Carolina fireball.

The Cast & Conditions:
Overall, it’s a strong cast with big mouths, sharp tongues and solid golf games.  I can honestly say that I saw some of the most impressive golf shots in this series and this was ALL despite the weather and conditions.  Ireland is an elite golfing destination for many players... it’s also one of the most unpredictable climates I’ve ever witnessed.  We visited the K Club in April for our initial scouting trip and we were greeted with 73 degree days with sun as far as the eye could see.  Three weeks later, we were battling 50-mile an hour wind gusts, trees uprooting due to wind and bitterly cold temperatures.  We shot our series in the final weeks of May and what did we see?  In Irish-recorded weather history, we saw the windiest and the coldest May EVER!  That’s 200+ years of recorded weather ... over 200 different May months of weather...and we had the coldest.  Bodes well for anyone wanting to visit next year... you’re guaranteed perfection!

Behind-the-Scenes of Show One:
The winner in every match completed the challenge in less than 25 seconds.
The most shots a player took to break the glass: Nina (7 shots).
Whitney / Julien – were the only players to break on their first shot.
Bennett took 9 seconds (had a 15 second head start) to hit his first shot.
Andy would have lost to either Whitney or Julien had they competed against him.

This challenge took five+ hours to shoot.  We had four playoffs that didn’t make air. Obviously, all the matches resulted in ties.
Nicole didn’t say one word to Bennett until 2 minutes and 34 seconds after he hit his tee-shot into the bunker (I guess she was quite angry).
The chip Mark hit to secure the win for Team Liffey measured 34 yards... he hit the chip about 22 yards (5 yards short of the green).  He landed the ball in the rough and it still bounced onto the green.  

Bennett played the challenge in 2-under par – pretty good under that pressure.
Whitney’s up-and-down out of the bunker was EPIC.  She hit her bunker shot and landed the shot inside a 1-yard area that afforded her a putt inside 20 feet.  If she flies it 1 yard shot=bunker, 1 yard longer=30 foot putt.
The non-competing players were standing on the balcony where the European team celebrated their Ryder Cup victory.

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

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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.