No Time to Monkey Around

By Big Break ProducerJuly 2, 2013, 2:00 am

“People go to the zoo and they like the lion because it's scary. And the bear because it's intense, but the monkey makes people laugh.” – Lorne Michaels

Every day on a Big Break shoot is long and draining for everyone.  For the crew, it’s an absolute bear.  It’s hot, it’s tiring…it’s intense.  For the contestants facing elimination, it’s definitely intense, but also knowing that you’re one bad shot away from losing it all, is…well…scary.  Even though every day of the 2 weeks are crazy and long, inevitably, there’s always one day that is just flat out longer and crazier than the rest.  That day was this one.  Episode 7 was a bear, a lion…and yes…even a monkey.

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

This day to end all days starts as usual, with contestants arriving for breakfast around 6am.  What was unseen by the viewers in the episode proper was that once breakfast concluded, we shot all of Team Aztec’s matches for the “Last Break” competition before the actual show’s competition day even began.  This was no small feat, as this online competition is produced the same way a normal challenge is shot for the series itself.  The full crew is on hand and it takes approximately 2 hours to shoot all three matches.  Once that is done, the crew seamlessly transitions to the actual series competition.  Now, if this were a “normal” day of competition, the rest of this day would not be quite as harrowing for the crew.  However, this was no normal day.  All the eliminated competitors were coming back for the 2nd challenge of the day, and a certain golf legend named Lorena Ochoa was to compete with all of them in the said challenge.  Now, successfully executing ONE reveal is tricky enough.  What made the logistics of these reveals even trickier (other than the fact that there were TWO reveals that needed to happen) is that Lorena could not be seen by ANY of the contestants…and we only had a three hour window in which she was available to participate in the challenge.  I do believe at one point during this part of the day I seriously wondered if we do this just to test the bounds of our own sanity.  Let’s put it this way…we could all EASILY plead insanity in a court of law…and no one would even blink.

While the eliminated contestants reacquainted themselves with their teammates, Lorena was stealthily escorted out to the 7th hole of the golf course, basically right under their noses and with tight planning and great execution by our Production Management staff, we pulled it off and Lorena arrived at the 7th green with only our crew having any clue as to what was going on.  Now that phase 1 of this reveal-o-rific afternoon was complete, we now had to hide Lorena again so all the contestants could be shuttled out to the challenge without seeing her before the big reveal.  Once again, this grown up game of hide-and-seek was played to perfection, as all 12 contestants were completely unaware of the Hall-of-Fame legend hiding behind the hill on the 8th tee box.  Now, I do understand that the contestants were all waiting for someone to show up at some time during the day as they were clued in to it at breakfast.  But, even with the expectation of the “friends old and new”, the realization of what was being expected is still a very important reaction to capture.  That is why we go thru these painstaking measures to get that 1st initial, raw reaction.  It’s always going to be a memorable reaction when these players get their 1st glimpse, their 1st realization that one of the all-time greats of the game will be joining them for a challenge.

As we all saw in the episode, the actual reveal and subsequent challenge went off without a hitch.  Lorena even had enough time to break some glass (on her 1st swing, nonetheless) and even spent some time with the contestants (completely spontaneously, mind you) giving them all some invaluable career advise.  A VERY classy move by an equally classy woman.

So, great!  Job well done.  Now we can go to the pool, right?!?!  Wrong.  We still had an Elimination Challenge to shoot (cue the 'Price is Right' Losing Horn).

After a quick break for lunch, we all headed back to the course, Matt chooses Stefanie to play against and away we go on the par 3, 2nd hole.  You may have noticed that the shadows were quite long by the end of this challenge.  That’s because by the time Stefanie made that lonely walk off the show, it was right around 6pm.  On a normal day, we’re off the course around 3pm.  With the crew completely exhausted and ready to get out of the sun and into some AC, something amazing happened.  A family of monkeys who lives in the trees off of the 5th green began making their daily, pre-dusk trek across the treetops of the 5th green and into the woods between the 6th green and the 7th fairway.  Instead of sauntering off to our carts and back to the hotel, the entire crew gathered around the 5th green to watch this family of monkeys fearlessly leap from treetop to treetop directly above our heads.  It was truly an amazing sight and was something we never would have experienced if we hadn’t been on that hole, at that time of day.

Once all the monkeys all made their way across the green and into their nighttime home of the thick jungle, we all kinda looked at each other and laughed.  It was then that our Associate Director, Todd Biermann, turned to me and said, “You know what, when you ask anybody about today, nobody’s gonna remember the 12-hour day.  You know what they’re gonna remember and what they’re gonna talk about…THE MONKEYS!”

The day was intense and the logistical nightmares were quite scary at times, but in the end, the monkeys made us laugh…and that’s what we’ll remember.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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