Golf as a Four Letter Word

By Big Break ProducerJune 11, 2013, 2:00 am

Golf has the uncanny ability to crush one’s soul.  I mean, just pull it out, spit on it, and stomp it into the dirt kind of devastation.  Anyone who’s ever played this game, especially on any sort of competitive level, has felt this.  For me, it was 4 putting the final hole of a match in High School while my teammates watched helplessly.  All competitive sports has that “thrill of victory/agony of defeat” kind of dichotomy, but for one reason or another, the negative side of this coin seems to be that much worse in the game of golf.  Maybe it’s because it’s all up to you.  When things go wrong, it’s all on you.  A shot isn’t missed because someone else came up and blocked it.  A putt isn’t missed because someone else made an incredible kick save.  Sure, some players blame the wind, a bad yardage, or even the equipment itself.  But really, whatever defense mechanism you use to cover up doesn’t hide the fact that you failed because you didn’t hit the shot needed to win.  Of course, there are moments in this game where your opponent just flat out beats you.  It happens, and it still sucks…but I’m not talking about those times.  I’m talking about those times where everything’s there for the taking…and you screwed it up.

Welcome back, friends, to my (Big Break Lead Producer, Brendan Havens) incoherent thoughts and ramblings as it pertains to this week’s heart wrenching/cringe inducing episode of Big Break Mexico.

In a week where we saw Team Olmec regain their mojo, Team Maya reach their boiling point with Chad and Rob call it quits on his team; there’s one moment that stood out above them all.  Matt’s soul crushing defeat at the hands of Jay, and mainly, himself.

To begin, Matt was in the unenviable position of having to avoid obtaining a third strike for his team.  That’s enough pressure to begin with.  Next, he had to choose between 1 of 2 very solid competitors to play against.  Liebelei or Jay.  Personally, I think Liebelei would have been the better choice, but as it played out, Matt really did make the right choice.  He had EVERY opportunity in the world to beat Jay in that 2 hole match.  He just couldn’t hit the shot necessary to seal the deal…and that’s what makes his breakdown that much worse.  He did it to himself.  But, in thinking about this further, there’s more to the demoralizing nature of this defeat than just the fact that Matt, essentially, did it to himself.  His personal failures directly affected three other people.  His teammates.

The fact that he is now to blame for a third member of Team Aztec facing the chopping block in next week’s episode, has to make his collapse hurt that much worse.  I know when I was in the middle of folding like a cheap suitcase on that green in that match in High School, I was just as devastated about letting my teammates down as I was about failing myself at something that I was in complete control of.   Letting people down just plain sucks and letting yourself down sucks even more.

This was a major turning point in the series and as a Producer, watching it unfold on the sidelines was wild.  For months, we had known that episode 4 would be the last day for the strikes.  Now that the day had arrived and the events that were to transpire were unfolding right in front of us; the simple scenario of either Matt or Jay losing the match held SO much weight toward the storylines for Elimination Day.  One poorly judged shot from 44 yards completely changed the outlook of the competition.  With that one moment in time, we went from all three teams having at least one person eliminated, to Team Maya staying fully intact thru the 1st Elimination Day and Team Aztec facing near complete elimination.  Heady stuff and a heady proposition that Matt, and team Aztec, will have to face in next week’s episode.

As part of our daily (and nightly) production duties, we’re all assigned specific contestants to interview at the end of each day.  Matt was one of the contestants that I interviewed every day that he was in the competition.  In my many years of Big Break interviews, I’d be hard pressed to name another person, outside of someone who was just eliminated, who felt more defeated.  Embarrassed and searching for answers, Matt sat in that interview room at a crossroads in his place in the competition.  He couldn’t do anything to change the outcome of what had happened hours earlier.  All he could do was to try and move on and find a way to turn today’s failure, into tomorrow’s success.  And that is where the true spirit of a professional golfer exists.  Will a soul crushing defeat define the failure of your past, or will it define the success of your future?

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry