Dance The Night Away

By Brendan Havens, Big Break ProducerAugust 23, 2010, 10:51 pm

It’s amazing how so many moments can happen during the course of Big Break that shape the competition, the outcomes and the storylines, and in just one instant, a single shot can determine the final outcome. On the 17th green, with the championship match reaching its climax, Carling Coffing took that single shot which will now live in Big Break infamy; hopping, skipping and jumping her way to the win in the grand finale of Big Break Sandals Resorts. Sure, there was still one hole to play and, courtesy of that tiny, little palm tree, Lili suffered probably one of the worst breaks I’ve ever witnessed on a golf course. The fact of the matter is though, the dagger was effectively plunged into Lili’s gut on that 17th green. The break on 18 was just a twisting of the blade. 

Before we get into Carling’s win, I must say a few words about this season’s runner-up, Lili Alvarez. Even after such a heart wrenching defeat, Lili showed us how to carry oneself as a competitor and a true sportsman. She didn’t get angry; she didn’t play the “woe is me” card about the bad break; she didn’t blame anyone else for her loss. She just took it for what it is—a game and an experience. That, in itself, just shows how classy a competitor and how wonderful an ambassador to the game she is. 

I digress…

As shocking as it was to see Carling drain that 25-foot putt, I’m not sure I would classify it as a straight up surprise, though—especially not for our good buddy, Stephanie Sparks. One thing you didn’t see in the finale was that as Lili and Carling were making their way up to the 17th green, Sparky turns to Tom and says, “How much you want to bet she makes that putt?” Only minutes later, Carling sinks one of the biggest pressure putts in the history of Big Break. Up until that point, one of the most absolute clutch putts in the series’ 13 seasons came from none other than Miss Carling Coffing on the 12th green at the expense of poor little Sara Brown. So, coupling that with her lights-out putting performance for the bulk of the match, Sparky’s prediction wasn’t all that far-fetched.

So, where will Carling rank in the annals of Big Break Champions? Will she go the route of a Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, or will she go the way of a Danielle Aimee? Only time will tell, and I certainly couldn’t make a solid prediction at this moment, but I will say one thing: Carling Coffing possesses one of the best short games I’ve seen during any season of the Big Break. Ever. As those who play the game for a living or those who obsessively search for that next weekend tee time will attest, a good short game is the key to shooting low scores. Hate to say it, but the old adage still seems to ring true to this day. You drive for show and putt for dough. Truth be told, Carling must now own her own bakery.

(*Producer’s note: I’d like to apologize for that awful joke. Just couldn’t help myself.)

So, was Carling the best player in the competition? As with many seasons, this seems to be a recurring question. Some would say that Ryann was far and away the best player. Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement. Ryann hit the ball further than anyone, she possesses a short game that can certainly keep pace with Carling, and she’s gone on to win two Duramed FUTURES Tour events since the filming of the series—not too shabby a resume. However, one thing that continually gets overlooked during this competition is how one reacts when dealt with some form of adversity. This type of adversity is just a little different than a normal round of tournament golf. Ryann, at least during the Big Break competition, did not deal with adversity particularly well (her infuriated reaction to Seema’s Save/Send-lucky-seat as a prime example). Carling, on the absolute other end of the spectrum, let just about every bit of adversity she faced just roll right off her back. Whether it be her “altercation” with Sara on the bench or her battle with diabetes-related blood sugar problems during the third week of the season, Carling exhibited a type of toughness that no one else possessed during this competition.

That’s what it all comes down to for Carling. She’s tough. She’s really tough. To deal with a serious illness day in and day out, that takes a type of toughness that only few can acquire. To roll in a 25-foot birdie putt with the championship match on the line…I guess that takes some serious toughness too.

Congratulations Carling. Say it out loud. You’re the Big Break Champion.

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.