Big Break NFL 20th Season Preview Blog

By Big Break ProducerSeptember 23, 2013, 4:30 am

Stop me if you have heard this one. 6 former NFL players and 12 former Big Breakers walk into a bar in Puerto Rico... 

Sounds pretty far-fetched right? 

Well, it happened. I saw it and actually walked in right behind them all the while thinking, there is the beginnings of a good joke here. 

We knew we wanted the 20th season of Big Break to be a special one. In the television industry it is extremely rare for a show to make it this far and Big Break keeps getting stronger. This season was a culmination of months and months of planning and preparation that brought us to the Dorado Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. When we reached an agreement with the NFL, we as producers of the show wanted more than anything to have the NFL players truly experience what it means to be on Big Break. But the only way to do that was to find NFL players that could golf well enough to have a challenge on their shoulders and still have the ability to pull off a shot. We were surprised at how many football players were fans of and really wanted to be on the show. That was very evident when I was sitting with the NFL players during our reveal to the Big Breakers at the beginning of the first episode and I thought it was kind of funny to have these big very accomplished men saying how nervous they were to meet their teammates. Just goes to show you even the best of the best get nervous sometimes. Even Jerry Rice, who was definitely not showing his nerves did make a comment right before he went out that he was feeling a little “pre-game excitement”. 

What you won’t see in the first show is after the teams met on the beach we sent them out for a practice round as teams. This gave people like Isaac and Emily a chance to get used to the fact that they were in fact on a team with Jerry and also give them all a chance to get to know each others games. We knew we had some strong golf games and some strong personalities and it was interesting as I drove around the golf course and watched each team for a few holes and noticed how the team dynamics were taking shape early on and it was a fairly accurate depiction which you will see as the season goes on. This is the first time we have had the teams live and die as teams. And we have brought back 12 of the most popular (for better or worse) players to share their BB expertise and see if they themselves can go the distance this time around. The NFL’ers brought their own level of expertise as well. All of them are so indoctrinated in the “team” frame of mind, whereas golfers by nature are much more individualistic due to the nature of the game. So this setting definitely set up to let the football players lead their teams into victory.

Of course I can’t give away any of the challenge specific details because where is the fun in that? But what I can tell you is we were surprised on more than one occasion. You will see team triumph and team drama. One team is actually nicknamed “Team Turmoil”. You will see hole outs (yes plural). You will see good shots and you will see great shots. And yes... you will see some spectacularly bad shots. It’s all a part of the Big Break experience. 

Chris Graham
Big Break Producer

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.