Lights Out for Another Big Break Contestant

By November 9, 2004, 5:00 pm
Big Break II LogoEditors Note: The Golf Channel aired the sixth episode of The Big Break II Tuesday night, where 10 highly skilled golfers compete to win an opportunity to play in four Nationwide Tour events televised on The Golf Channel in 2005.

Episode sixs skills challenge had the players split into two groups of three with a three-hole, scramble-style format deciding which team would be exempt from the elimination challenge.

And as is becoming customary in each show, a little twist was thrown into the format. This time it was a blast from the past.

From out of the blue, three golf carts were spotted rolling up towards the players. Once they arrived, out stepped Garrett Garland, Randy Block and Jeff Brown ' three alumni from the original Big Break series. If they could manage to beat both teams, all six current contestants would have to go to the elimination portion of the show.

The Big Break IINever thought about Big Break 1 coming back. Big Randy, Jeff and Garrett. It was like, oohh here we go, this is going to be pretty cool, recalled David Gunas Jr. on the surprise visit.

We heard some rumors that they were talking some smack about how Big Break 1 guys couldnt play, said Block about the showdown. It was nice to come back here and defend our honor against the Big Break 2 guys.

And defend their honor they did, as the alumni forced a three-way playoff after three holes and then won the skills challenge outright on the first extra hole, sending every one of the slightly humbled Big Break II boys to the elimination challenge.

A little redemption. Big Break 1 beat the Big Break 2, boasted Garrett on the victory.

Next up, however, was the Top-Flite Mulligan Challenge where the contestants had to perform the highly unusual task of hitting tee shots to a green in the dead of night, aided only by moonlight.

By way of giant spotlights, the players were given a quick look at the green to try and get a bead on the target before co-host Rick Smith gave the signal to flip the light switch off. Each player got two attempts and the one who hit it closest to the pin would win the mulligan to be used in the upcoming elimination challenge.

The results were somewhat surprising as each player hit a shot that they would have been proud of even in normal daylight hours. Kip Henley topped them all, knocking his shot to an impressive 4 feet 5 inches.

The consistency was really good and that goes to show you the level of the players out here, said Mike Foster, Jr. It shows that the guys out here can really hit it.

In the elimination round the group was asked to hit shots from two separate greenside trouble spots ' one from behind a tree and the other from a waste area with a bunker in between them and the pin. The players had to hole out after each shot and the man with the highest total score from both attempts would be sent home.

Two tremendous shots. The one was pretty straightforward, except that you had to choose to either go left or right around the tree. If you play enough golf, you are going to find yourself in that situation, recalled elder statesman John Turk. My strategy was to make sure I didnt do anything dumb enough like hitting it long into the water or chunk it short. I basically was playing it very conservatively.

After doing their best scrambling to card a low score, both Foster and Henley finished a stroke back of the rest of the group, forcing a playoff to see who would be sent packing.

The Big Break IIThe selfish part of you that wants to win the Big Break 2, bottom line, is saying Oh my god, how lucky are we. We are getting rid of one phenomenal player right now, guaranteed, said Gunas Jr. on the playoff.

Foster quickly found a bunker, and although his shot out of the sand nestled some 5 feet from the pin, he was unable sink his putt to stave off elimination.

The group that started with 10 was now down to just five players and the departing Foster was philosophical about his exit.

Whats more important than anything is to be a good person, and I appreciate everybody having that feeling (about me), said Foster. But we all came here to compete and somebody had to lose, and we all knew that. I was just hoping it wouldnt be me until the very end.

Be sure to watch The Golf Channel every Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET), as the battle for survival intensifies on The Big Break 2.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.