September 3rd 2009 - A New Beginning

By Brendan Havens, Big Break ProducerJune 1, 2010, 6:09 pm

As I shuffle out of the hotel lobby in the early hours of a crisp autumn morning in Albany, the anticipation of the day’s events have me feeling anxious, intrigued and most importantly, warm. My heavily-thinned Florida blood isn’t nearly as tolerant to chilly temps as it used to be during my formative years in Connecticut. These 40-degree temp and thick morning fog have a much heavier effect on me these days. The “Meet the Pros” party that I attended last night has robbed me of some rest and has necessitated a handful of Advil, but nevertheless, this day will be our first foray into the casting process of Big Break Sandals Resorts. The cool, damp morn in New York’s state capital will also mark the first time I’ll be making an appearance at a Duramed FUTURES TOUR event in over two years. Being a longtime producer of Big Break, along with the “Game On” series with Ashley Prange, I’ve made a lot of friends out on that tour. So, it’s fully understandable that the introduction of Advil to my morning routine was most definitely an inevitable one.

At this stage of the pre-production process, Big Break Sandals Resorts is still in its infancy. Only a few challenge concepts have been conjured up. I have yet to see, in person, where we’ll be shooting the series and am in the midst of pre-production for another show: Destination Golf Hawaii. All that aside though, this September morn marks what I’ve always considered to be the most important part of the Big Break pre-production process: Casting. No matter what crazy challenges we can dream up or exotic locales we can invade, the cast can make or break an entire series.

Upon arriving at the Capital Hills Golf Course shortly after 7:30 a.m., my curiosity/paranoia about how the day’s events will unfold begins to set in. How many girls will show up to audition? Will we end the day with at least a couple possible candidates? It’s a familiar feeling, as I’ve asked myself these questions before every open audition call at a FUTURES TOUR event since the first round of casting for Big Break V (we came out of that one with Ashley Prange, Jeanne Cho, Christina Tucker, Becky Lucidi and Katie Ruhe).  Of course, the overriding majority of the time, we end up with a number of solid possibilities, but it still doesn’t stop me from asking these all too familiar questions. And like I stated earlier, it’s been a couple years since I’ve been out to the FUTURES TOUR. Will any of these new faces be interested in what the Big Break has to offer? I know, very neurotic, but hey, this is how my thought process works.

My initial nervousness begins to subside around 7:45 a.m. when our sign-in table begins to become flooded with a number of interested applicants who showed up early just to make sure they got an audition time. An excellent start to what would amount to be one of the best turnouts we’ve ever had for an open audition. 

Over the course of the next eight hours, we would audition 70 members of the FUTURES TOUR with around a third of them getting immediate consideration to be part of the next Big Break. To put this in perspective, we usually get around 5-10 people per audition that are considered. In just one audition, we could have filled the next two “ladies only” Big Break casts (Carling Coffing, Ryann O’Toole, Lili Alvarez, Seema Sadekar and Stacey Bieber were selected from this audition). This first audition site really was the beginning of this series. It set the tone for what I consider to be one of the best casts we’ve ever assembled and is one of the many reasons why I’m extremely excited about this series.

My fellow producers (Jon Painter and Chris Graham) and I have taken it upon ourselves to give you a bit of a different perspective on Big Break for this season. This new approach will not only showcase these 11 intriguing personalities to the fullest, but a major goal of ours is to really get you to feel what it was like for these ladies to participate in this one-of-a-kind competition. From the breathtaking tropical surroundings to the extreme intensity of the Elimination Challenge, we’ve covered the action and the drama like no other Big Break.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.