Big Break NFL Puerto Rico Producer Blog Episode One

By Big Break ProducerOctober 9, 2013, 2:00 am

The first day of shooting always brings with it a variety of sensations: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty, nervousness––maybe even nausea.  And that’s just the producers.

Of course, the players were noticeably anxious on the first day of competition.  As they would attest later, there were dry mouths, shaky legs and spaghetti arms.  There were butterfly-filled stomachs and pounding hearts.

The anxiety amongst the production team was in finding out if the NFL’ers were buying into the whole Big Break idea, or if this was just a two-week vacation at an incredible destination with some golf fun and games mixed in.  To have a watchable series on our hands, the consensus was that the NFL legends had to go all-in.  They could not be merely celebrity Big Break contestants; they had to be full-fledged Big Break contestants.

After nineteen successful seasons, we were pretty sure had a good thing going, and we knew these guys were all fiercely passionate when it came to football.  But would they pursue our golf skills challenges with the same fervor?

It didn’t take long to get the answer.

To hear Al Del Greco admit that the exhilaration he experienced in the glass break outweighed anything he’d experienced while kicking a game-winning field goal was an eye opener.  To hear Super Bowl MVPs Jerry Rice and Mark Rypien compare the glass break to one of the world’s biggest sporting events were serious signs of success.

Having played in front of millions of fans over their collective careers, it was interesting to see the NFL legends exhibit the same symptoms of nerves that all Big Breakers do.  What we had hoped, and what the very first challenge of the combine helped to confirm, was that world-class football players are like world-class golfers: competitive at everything they do.  Whether its scoring touchdowns, throwing darts or breaking glass, as Marc Bulger puts it, “losing is unacceptable”.

That mentality is what made them NFL legends in the first place.  But will it make them Big Break legends? Time and ten more episodes will tell.

To make the Big Break Hall of Fame, the NFL players will not only have to hit timely golf shots.  They’ll have to be good teammates – and they’ll have to rely on the returning Big Breakers who are now their teammates.

It won’t always be easy.  Just ask Tim Brown.  As he sat in the holding room awaiting the big moment of the NFL players’ reveal to the former contestants on the beach, a thought occurred to him.

Aware that golfers are not always the most gregarious of athletes, Tim warned his fellow NFL alumni “You know, there’s a possibility that they may not want us to be here.”  As you saw in episode 1, Tim’s words hit close to home, as both Mallory and Will admitted to struggling with the idea of playing as a team.

Their concerns are not unfounded.  The combine showed that a weak link can drag a team down, like Meghan and Will did in the glass break.  Similarly, a strong player can lift a team up, as Stefanie did in the approach challenge and Isaac did on the putting green.

Throughout the season, all 18 players will walk the delicate line between individual effort and team chemistry.  It won’t always be pretty.  But one thing is certain: the anxiety will be high.  And the competition will be real.  And intense.  It’ll be real intense.

That’s what happens when the contestants are all in.

Scott Lee 
Big Break NFL Puerto Rico Producer

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.

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TT postscript: One birdie in casual pro-am round

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:15 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are a few observations after watching Tiger Woods’ pro-am round Wednesday at the Honda Classic:

• As expected, the stress level was minimal at PGA National. He had a short warmup (considering it was still freakin’ dark when he was about to tee it up, at 6:45 a.m.) and generally took little time contemplating shots, except for a few clubs off the tee.

• Tiger spent a lot of time chipping, pitching and putting after completing a hole. No surprise there. He didn’t play a practice round Monday or Tuesday, and he hasn’t competed here since 2014. Gotta get in that work.

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

• He hit six drivers Wednesday. That’s probably one or two more than he will in competition, depending on wind direction. Two of those drives found the fairway. The other four were varying degrees off-line in the right rough, none more wild than his push slice on the difficult sixth hole that was probably 60 yards right. At least it was playable over there – water runs all the way down the left side.

• It’s not quite a stinger, but he hit more than a few 2-iron shots off the tee, with a sweet, little draw. That’ll play quite nicely here.

• We said it for a few rounds at Torrey Pines, and then again for one day at Riviera, but here goes: Woods appears to have taken the left side of the course out of play. Whether that remains true after playing under “game speed” this week, who knows?

• Woods made only one birdie, after getting up and down out of the greenside bunker on the par-5 third. His pro-am stat line, for those interested: 7 of 14 fairways, 12 greens and 31 putts and shot around 2 over. Again, he was not really trying.

• Best shot of the day? His fairway-bunker shot on the sixth hole (while playing his second ball). He skied a mid-iron from 187 yards to kick-in range. A little more of that, please.