Battling Emotions and the Elements

By March 14, 2006, 5:00 pm
The Big Break V - HawaiiLast week the stars came out ' as in LPGA Tour stars Lori Kane and Beth Bauer. This week, however, cold hard cash and mega prizes would rule the day. With some wild Hawaiian weather thrown in for good measure.
The seven remaining contestants gathered with co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks early in the morning, just a sand wedge away from the famous North Shore surf on Oahu, for their briefing on what the day had in store.
They got things started with a Mulligan Challenge where the winner would receive a $2,000 gift certificate from Golfsmith. Aussie Dana Lacey put herself in position to win it outright before choosing Kristina Tucker as the one who she wanted to face in a head-to-head chip off. Bad choice as Tucker edged Lacey by a couple of feet to keep the Mulligan out of Laceys hands.
The Big Break V
The ladies try to take cover from a sudden rain storm on the North Shore of Oahu.
It was now on to the Immunity Challenge, where the stakes were raised, the weather started whipping up and a giant carrot ' make that a car ' was dangled in front of both Lacey and Julie Wells. As explained on the first show, the first person to win three Immunity Challenges would walk away with a brand new Chrysler Crossfire Roadster. Lacey and Wells had up until this point each won twice.
The challenge itself had several twists. The players each were to hit from two distances ' 105-yards and 115-yards. The players had up to three attempts to hit a shot into a circle painted on the green. The player with the fewest attempts after both distances would win the immunity. Twist No.1: after each failed attempt, they would have to change clubs. Twist No. 2: an orange circle was painted inside the main circle at a distance of 7 11 around the cup. Co-host Stephanie then informed the contestants that if someone hit inside that bonus circle, 7-11 stores would award them $5,000 cash.
Rising to the challenge was Lacey, who stuffed her first shot into the circle, although not the 7-11 Bonus Circle. She was joined by Kristina Tucker who also made it in on her first attempt. Not one of the remaining five players could find the zone. It now looked to be a two-person race between Lacey and Tucker.
Moving back to the 115-yard shot, Jeanne Cho busted out in a big way as she dialed in her second attempt to within 8 inches of the cup. Although she could not win the immunity, she was due to collect $5,000.
She wasnt immune but she did come back with $5,000 from 7-11. That was incredible to watch and we were all excited. We all said that shes got to take us out for slurpees, joked Kim Lewellen.
Lacey and Tucker came up clutch again as they each nailed their 115-yard shot on the first attempt and would head into a playoff to determine the winner. For Lacey, the sports car was suddenly well within reach, not to mention the all-important immunity.
Tucker fired first but came up short. Her second effort did find the target but it opened the door for Lacey.
I stood up there and was feeling a little nervous so I backed off, said Lacey. I stood there for a while and then Im like, You can do this. Youre in Hawaii having one of the best experiences of your life ' you can do this!
Indeed she could, her first effort landed safely in the zone to win not only the immunity, but also the sporty Chrysler Crossfire.
It was nuts, absolutely crazy. I was crying, I was emotional, I was happy, I was just ecstatic, recalled Lacey. Absolute dream come true. No matter what happens, I will never, ever, ever experience anything like this.
As high as Lacey was, reality sunk in for the other six ladies as they headed toward the Elimination Challenge.
Each player would take two shots from three different bunkers. Circles painted around the pin designated scoring zones and were worth 5, 3, 2, and 1 point(s) ' the closer to the pin registering the higher point total. The contestant with the lowest point total after the three rounds would be eliminated.
Weve got the toughest challenge that we have had yet. We all went in there very nervous, said Lewellen about the rising levels of anxiety.
The nerves clearly showed as Lewellen, Ashley Prange, Tucker and Becky Lucidi all came away with zero points after the first set of shots. Julie Wells led the way with 5 points while Cho was in second with 2 points.
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Former U.S. Amateur champ Becky Lucidi became the fifth player to exit the show.
The second series was again tough on Lucidi as she came up short on both of her shots and now sat scoreless through two rounds. Prange didnt fare much better but did get on the board with one point, as did Tucker (3 points) and Lewellen (4 points). Cho came up empty and remained at 2 points.
Down to the last series of bunker shots, Wells played her way onto the next show by reaching 11 total points, more than last-place Lucidi could possibly make up. Lewellen followed and reached 9 points, then Tucker with 8 and Cho in with 7 points. Big numbers were needed by Prange and Lucidi to avoid elimination.
Prange stepped into the bunker and knocked down a 3 pointer and backed it up with a 2 pointer for a total of 6 points.
Not so much disappointed but nervous, because now Im just sitting there going, Oh no, here comes the waiting game, said Prange as she stood back to watch Lucidi. You get to watch a shot that could send you off the show. Not fun.
It was now down to Lucidi, who needed 6 to tie and 7 to oust Prange and move on. Her first attempt flew over the flagstick yet stayed on the green but only for 1 point. An almost perfect bunker shot was needed to stay alive.
I was really trying to get myself in to my little zone. Trying to focus on what I had to do, recalled Lucidi.
Lucidi then hit a clutch sand shot that quickly got on the green and rolled past the 2 point zone, into the 3 point zone and towards the 5 point area. Cast and crew waited anxiously for the measurement. The ball was ruled just shy of a 5 pointer and Lucidi was denied a chance at a playoff and became the fifth contestant to exit the show.
When you have something like your dream that youre chasing and all of a sudden, you know, maybe thats not in your path anymore, thats when your true emotions come out, said the departing former U.S. Amateur champion Lucidi.
It sucked. It really did. Because shes just the life of the party and she gets everything started, said Lacey about her friend having to leave the show.
The Big Break V: Hawaii airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break V: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.
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    Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

    SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

    The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

    Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

    Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

    ''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

    The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

    ''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

    Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

    ''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

    Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

    He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

    Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

    Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

    He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

    Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

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    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.