Ladies Scrambling to Stay Alive

By April 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
The Big Break IIIEditors note: The Golf Channels Big Break III ' Ladies Only is the third installment of this hit series. As the title suggests, however, this season is just for the ladies. The 10 contestants are vying for entry into select LPGA tournaments, including the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
Fresh off the NCAAs March Madness, the ladies of the Big Break III have come to their own version of the final four.
Danielle Amiee, Pam Crikelair, Cindy Miller and Liz Uthoff had all survived countless Mulligan, Skills and Elimination Challenges to reach the final four and they were beginning to get a sense of reaching their goal to make it to the LPGA Tour.
Big Break III
Cindy miller continued her steady play during the Skills Challenges.
Were all here for a reason and thats to win and go onto the LPGA Tour, remarked Uthoff on each of the remaining contestants goals.
Co-hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks greeted the ladies and informed them that there would no longer be a Mulligan Challenge and that they would get started with three-holes of golf in the Skills Challenge. Each player would play a par-4, a par-3 and a par-5 and would score 1 point for a par, 3 for a birdie, and 5 for making eagle and then conversely, lose a point for a bogey and three points for a double bogey or worse. The player with the most points after the three holes would win the immunity for the next show.
I was kinda happy about that because you dont get a mulligan when youre playing at a LPGA event, noted Miller about the surprising change.
It gives me the opportunity to play square, even golf, added Amiee, hinting on her displeasure of missing out on earlier Mulligan Challenges.
Miller, who has dominated her competition during the shows previous Skills Challenges, again started strong with a birdie at the first hole to put herself in the drivers seat early. Crikelair stayed close with a par while Uthoff and Amiee both made bogeys. Miller kept up the pressure with a solid par on the par-3, putting distance between her and the other three on the scoreboard.
I had a couple shot (point) lead here and I gotta make sure it stays here because being in the Elimination Challenge is something you dont want to have to do, said a cautious but optimistic Miller.
With Miller being the shortest hitter and the par-5 coming up, each of the ladies realized this was the hole were they would have to make their move, either hoping for an eagle or at least a birdie coupled with a hiccup from Miller.
Miller, however, would not oblige and played her first two shots straight up the fairway before knocking her third shot to the back fringe. Before Amiee or Uthoff could even attempt their birdie putts, Miller closed the door with a simple two putt for par to finish with an unbeatable 5 points.
Im proud for her because shes really been worked up for the challenges, said Uthoff in response to Miller yet again winning the exemption. She did a helluva good job today.
Big Break III
Danielle Amiee had to confront some of her inner demons during episode 8.
With Miller safely onto the next show, the remaining three contestants realized that by sheer numbers alone, there was no where to hide in the upcoming Elimination Challenge.
In the Elimination, the ladies were given the choice to select from 1 of 5 different spots on the 16th hole of the Woods course at the Kingsmill Golf Club in Williamsburg, Va. ' a 170-yard fairway approach shot, a 110-yard wedge shot, a 70-yard shot, a 35-yard flop shot over a bunker to the green or finally a greenside bunker shot.
All three players would then play from the three chosen spots and the player with the highest cumulative score would see their dream come to an end.
Leading off in the final challenge of the day was Amiee, who was to hit from her chosen 70-yard shot.
Seventy yards was not my strength, but I knew the other girls struggled with it, explained Amiee on her shot selection.
With Amiee and Crikelair safely on the green, Amiees strategy paid off as she watched as Uthoffs attempt not only fly over the green and into the far bunker, but her ball also plugged near the lip in back of the bunker.
With absolutely no where to go, Uthoff simply advanced her ball a few feet closer to the hole though no longer with an impossible lie. While Crikelair and Amiee both made pars, Uthoff showed what kind of competitor she is by making a solid up and down for bogey to ward off what couldve been a complete disaster.
To get a 4 there, from where she was, was phenomenal, observed Miller, who was watching the competition play out.
It was then on the 170-yard fairway approach shot that Uthoff had selected and all three players hit the green with their first shots. Uthoff however, blew her lag putt nearly 7 feet past the pin and again had to suck it up to keep from falling two shots back of her rivals. Her putt found the bottom of the cup to remain just a stroke back as they headed to Crikelairs greenside bunker shot.
It was crunch time and the emotions and nerves were about to spill over.
She was nervous. Danielle was shaking, noted Uthoff as she watched Amiee getting set up in the bunker. Her last thought of being in a bunker (in the Skills Challenge) was a skull, a blade shot that flew 80 yards over the green.
Sure enough, the inner demons got the best of Amiee as she caught the ball thin and watched in horror as it sailed over the green and into a collection of bushes and trees.
Shes history now, total history, said Miller after considering Amiees predicament. I couldnt see the lie back there, but you couldnt even see Danielle!
Big Break III
A group hug is offered up to Liz Uthoff as she is the seventh contestant to leave the show.
After carefully removing some fallen branches on top of her ball, Amiee was somehow able to muscle a shot out of dense foliage and amazingly onto the fringe of the green.
Still some 50 feet away, Aimee gathered herself and hit a beautiful lag putt up to within a couple of feet and finished with an improbable 4. Crikelair, meanwhile, comfortably two putted for a three and secured her spot in the next to final show.
Uthoff now had a 10-footer to make a 2 an eliminate Amiee and move on, but her putt slid by the cup to force a two-woman, sudden-death playoff.
I wanted another opportunity to redeem myself, said Danielle on the ensuing playoff. I cant believe that I was that mentally strong that when I hit a shot so poor, to not let it even faze me.
The two made their way to the spot of the110-yard wedge shot and Uthoff had the honors. She safely landed her attempt on the green but some 40-feet away from the pin.
When Lizzy drew first and I saw her fade it way right, I knew I could just attack it, said Amiee on the playoff situation.
And attack it she did, sticking her approach just 6 feet from the cup.
Uthoff then had a tough putt just to make things interesting and again watched as her effort went well past the pin and left her wondering if she would even get another shot.
She would, as Amiee once more left the door open for Uthoff as her putt missed just left of the hole, placing the ball back in Uthoffs court.
I just sat there and took a deep breath, recalled Amiee. I couldnt even watch.
From 6 feet away Uthoff pulled the trigger but unfortunately was unable to find her target, giving Amiee new life and for herself, a dream unfulfilled.
Two things that dont last long ' dogs that chase cars and 6 footers for par, said the departing and obviously disappoint Uthoff. But I live for that feeling when you step up to that first tee. I just love it. This has been the greatest experience I have ever gone though.
Be sure to tune in next Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET) as the ladies battle it out to see who are the lucky two that get to move on to the final show of the Big Break III ' Ladies Only!
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    Teenager Im wins season opener

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

    South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Tour.

    Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

    Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

    Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Tour event at age 20.

    Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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    Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

    He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

    12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

    Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

    11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

    At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

    11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

    Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

    1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

    Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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    Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

    By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

    HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

    It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

    Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

    It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

    ''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

    The reward now?

    ''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

    He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

    During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

    ''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

    Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

    ''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

    During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

    ''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

    It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

    Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

    And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

    It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

    ''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

    Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

    And not the Masters.

    He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

    ''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

    There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

    Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

    ''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

    He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

    ''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

    He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

    ''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

    Except for that first week in April.

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    The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

    By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

    The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

    All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

    By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

    Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

    As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

    While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

    Yeah, you heard that right.

    “I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

    Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

    Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

    Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

    As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

    Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

    Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

    A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

    Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

    With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

    First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

    “I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

    Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

    We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

    The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

    These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

    Here's two more just for good measure.

    Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

    Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

    Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

    Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

    Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

    Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

    But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

    We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

    Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

    PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

    Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.