Ladies Begin Big Break Quest

By February 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
The Big Break IIIThe Golf Channel unveiled the first episode of The Big Break III ' Ladies Only Tuesday night, the networks third installment of its hit television series. As the title suggests however, this season is just for the ladies. But that in no way means the stakes arent high, as the 10 contestants will be vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill, May 5-8, and the LPGA Corning Classic, May 26-29.
 
After meeting and gathering together for the first time over dinner, the ladies enjoyed a day swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, Fla., then boarded one of NetJets luxury jets and headed north to historic Williamsburg, Va., site of the abovementioned Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill Golf Club.
 
With a surprise seemingly around every corner, most of the ladies seemed to be enjoying the truly unique experience, especially the twist and turns that were sure to come.
 
Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks
Co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks will guide the 10 contestants through The Big Break III.
We have no clue where we are going. And thats fun, said Liz Uthoff of St. Louis, Mo. I think the excitement of the unknown is fun.
 
Everyone has got this super bubbly personality, said Jan Dowling, who is originally from Ontario, Canada. Its almost hard to get a word in, because everyone has got that type-A personality. Its just been awesome.
 
With spirits high and camaraderie building, the next morning the group was taken on a foggy boat ride, eventually landing them at the Kingsmill course. Upon arrival, co-hosts Vince Cellini and former LPGA Tour player Stephanie Sparks welcomed them to what promised to be an emotional week of golfing challenges.
 
In what now is becoming the signature Big Break challenge, the ladies took turns hitting knockdown shots in effort to break a pane of glass with a competitors name on it.
 
The good news was that the last woman standing, or whose pane of glass remained unbroken, had first dibs on her choice of room and bed for the duration of the competition. Even better news was that no one, regardless of where they finished in the challenge, was going home.
 
The whole threat of were picking our bed and our room, everyone was like, I dont want to sleep on the floor, said Uthoff light-heartedly.
 
The quiet sounds of nature soon gave way to the reverberation of breaking glass, as one by one the contestants dropped out. With just two players remaining, Dowling finally took out Uthoff to claim top honors.
 
It was incredible to break a glass. It was a cool, cool feeling, said Dowling. It was fun to win the first one (challenge).
 
And the surprises kept coming as the ladies made their way to the lodge where a special guest was inside waiting for them.
 
Knock on the door and as soon as Matt Griesser answers the door, we all went, Get out of town! said an excited Pam Crikelair of Highland Beach, Fla.
 
Oh God, he is soooo funny, added Tasha Browner of Tarzana, Calif. I just love his voice. I could listen to him all day.
 
The Big Break III
Valerie Ochoa takes dead aim at Pamela Crikelair's pane of glass.
Griesser, co-host of The Golf Channel's Plugged In series, greeted the group and let them have the run of the house. As they made their way around the accommodations, they all quickly discovered, much to their delight, that The Golf Channel had spared no expense.

An indoor putting green, a billiards table, dart board, pinball machine, an outdoor Jacuzzi, a fridge stocked with beer and sodas, a beautiful view overlooking a lake and a Callaway Staff Bag for each of the contestants, each custom embroidered with their own name.
 
Finally, after a chef was brought to feed the ladies a wonderful steak and seafood dinner, reality started to set in as they all began to realize that when morning came, it was down to business.
 
They cant hold us all here forever, we have to start eliminating, said Crikelair about the next days inevitable elimination challenge.
 
You can see the game faces coming on, observed Danielle Amiee of Newport Beach, Calif.
 
Be sure to check in next week as Mother Nature gets into the mix at the first elimination challenge. At the end of the day one of the 10 contestants will be going home.
 
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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.'"


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    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.