Big Break Mexico Season Preview Producer Blog

By Big Break ProducerMay 2, 2013, 1:30 am

10 years is a long time.  Well, maybe not in the grand scheme of the cosmos and the creation of everything around us; but in the lifetime of the average human being, 10 years is a pretty significant chunk o’ time.  If you really think about it, we measure our phases of life in 10 year increments.  Whether it be physical age or periods of music, a decade is how we create order in a frequently orderless existence.  Even the word “decade” holds a certain type of weight.  I mean…it sounds like if a decade fell on you, ya might be sore for a few days.  And you know what, when you look back at the past decade of your own life, it almost does feel like something large and cumbersome has glanced off the side of your head. 

Welcome, friends, to the 1st installation of my incoherent thoughts and ramblings as it concerns the TV series you know and love, Big Break.  For all the newbies of the Producer Blog section of the website, my name is Brendan Havens and I’m the Senior Producer for Big Break Mexico and have been working with Big Break in some form or fashion since the very 1st season…10 years ago.

Believe it or not, Big Break has now been on the air for 10 years.  I know!  I couldn’t believe it either.  The 1st season premiered on October 6, 2003 and was one of the 1st of its kind.  Granted, the series followed the worldwide successes of “The Real World”, “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race”, but Big Break was really the 1st reality competition program that centered itself around a single sport.  Upon hearing of this show concept while working as a freelance production assistant for Golf Central, I had to find a way to work on it.  So, I left Golf Central to log the tapes that came back from the very 1st Big Break series shoot.  Yup.  Just some single, 24-year-old kid sitting with a tape machine and a computer, typing into a document what’s happening on the screen in front of me.  Who woulda thunk it.  10 years later, I’m now just some married, 34-year-old dude leading the charge in all facets of the Big Break series production.  A whole lot can change in 10 years.  Just take a look at the 1st season of Big Break on and compare what that looks like to how it looks now.  I mean…yikes.  It’s like looking back at your high school yearbook.  You ever do that?  I can guarantee you said to yourself, “how did I EVER think that looked good?”  Well, let me tell ya.  I ask the same question when looking back at those early season episodes.

So, as we inch closer and closer to the premiere of the 19th season of Big Break, how is it that each successive season has proven to be as entertaining as that 1st season was when it was so fresh and new?  Well, it’s because each season we keep finding a way to make the same ol’ series feel fresh and new.  Sure, it’s still the same basic foundation that the 1st season was built upon: Aspiring professional golfers trying to find a way to live together while competing in extremely unique/high pressure golf challenges.  However, we make a concerted effort every season to have every season feel like a totally new series.  From new and improved challenges, to new cast member dynamics, to big time format changes…which is what leads me to Big Break Mexico.

In my decade long experience with the Big Break, I can safely say that this season is vastly different from any other than I’ve been personally involved with.  Now, I realize this won’t be the first time we’ve done teams, but with these teams of 4 (2 men, 2 women), this will be the first time we’ve structured the team format this way.  On top of this, there’s also some pretty significant twists and turns to come that I’m not at liberty to divulge at this very moment, but trust me…they’re pretty twist-a-rific.

Outside of the twists and turns you’ve all come to expect with the Big Break, what I really love about this season is the dynamics that teams inherently bring.  You see it with the Ryder Cup every two years.  Competitive people are always that much more competitive when they’re in a team environment.  The ecstasy of winning and the agony of defeat are that much more amplified and the reactions are that much louder because when you have to rely on others to determine your level of success, things can get really tense, really quick.  As the great Alvin Lee of the band 10 Years After once wrote, “You got to help me, now.  I can't do it all by myself.  You know if you don't help me, darling, I'll have to find myself somebody else.”  Seems to be quite fitting as we enter this team format for the 10th year of Big Break.

Getty Images

McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

Getty Images

Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.