Magic Tricks in Michigan

By November 25, 2003, 5:00 pm
The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the eighth episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vie in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. Each week one contestant will be eliminated until there is just one man left standing. That lucky winner will get the Big Break of his golfing career - exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
 
As Mother Nature reared her ugly head at the Treetops Resort in northern Michigan, the players were left in the clubhouse, killing time with some light stretching, small talk and a couple of card tricks.
 
Here we go again, spoke Justin Peters about the harsh weather the players had to deal with. Its just going to be another one of those absolute mental challenges.
 
With the field down to the final four contestants, a match-play style challenge, nasty weather and the mounting pressure all set the stage to see who would ultimately have to pull off a little magic of their own to stave off elimination.
 
As the contestants huddled under umbrellas waiting for instructions for the days first challenge, co-host Rick Smith pulled up with some good news on an otherwise dreary day. The Ford Motor Company was offering the use of a new Ford Explorer for two years to the player that would eventually win the Big Break.
 
That was a shock because none of us even expected that, quipped Peters. It just raises the bar, the pot has been sweetened!
 
Justin & Anthony team upThe first challenge split the quartet into two-man teams - Randy Block and Craig Pawling versus Justin Peters and Anthony Sorentino. The teams would face off in a three-hole Ryder Cup-style format, with each hole being worth a point. The first hole was alternate shot, the second better-ball and the third was combined team score, and the team winning the most points would receive the luxury of not having to face the upcoming elimination challenge.
 
The team of Block and Pawling quickly got a huge break, as Randys approach shot on the first hole somehow escaped the trees on the right and bounced down onto the green about 30 feet from the cup. After finding the green in regulation, a missed three-footer by Peters resulted in a three-putt bogey, giving Block and Pawling the first point of the day.
 
I felt terrible I missed that putt, said a shocked Peters. I just hit it too hard.
 
On the second hole, with better-ball in play, Peters found himself in position to win the hole with a 20-foot birdie putt, and to also gain some redemption for his short miss at the last. His putt found the bottom of the cup and earned the team its first point and drew them even heading into the final hole.
 
We had been talking all week about gut checks, and what really defines a golfer is coming through, said happy teammate Sorentino. He drained that putt and I was thrilled.
 
The final hole of the skills challenge, where combined scores would decide the winner, the contestants faced a tough 220-yard par-3. Sorentino, the only player to find the dance floor, hit a beautiful long iron that finished up just short of the flagstick. His resulting par and teammate Peters' bogey-4 beat their opponents by a stroke, leaving Block and Pawling to do battle to see who would stay alive.
 
In the elimination challenge each player was given the chance to select between one of five shots in which he felt he could beat his opponent. The five choices were a 185-yard long iron shot, a fairway bunker shot, a flop shot, a greenside bunker shot and a 65-foot putt, with the player closer to the hole being the winner. Each shot was worth a point and the first contestant to reach two points would move on to the next show.
 
Pawling was the first to choose and citing his belief in his distance control on long putts, decided to go with the putting competition. Wrong move, as his putt was well short and to the left, coming to rest 9 feet 6 inches from the hole. Block couldnt capitalize though, sending his putt racing by the hole and to the back of the green, 24 feet 2 inches away. However, by having a lower score in the skills challenge, Block wisely used the mulligan he earned and put it to good use, nestling his follow-up putt inside Pawlings and winning the point.
 
With the momentum clearly on his side, Block then selected to hit the flop shot in the second portion of the elimination challenge. The pressure was now squarely on Pawlings shoulders and he had to respond in order keep things going. And respond he did, hitting his wedge to 9 feet 1 inch and putting the pressure back in Blocks corner.
 
Its out of my hands now. Ive done all I can, said Pawling as he waited for Blocks attempt.
 
Blocks subsequent shot, however, caught the fringe and died before advancing the needed distance. The two now headed to a decisive final shot.
 
Rick Smith randomly selected the final shot in the elimination challenge, the 185-yard fairway shot, and Block was to be the first to hit. Having already struggled with his long irons in the earlier challenge, Block continued the trend, pushing his 5-iron well right of the green, 133 feet 5 inches from the hole.
 
Randy is dejectedThat opened the door for Pawling, who despite not hitting a quality shot himself, still wound up well within Blocks distance and good enough to advance.
 
The shots they hit really, truly werent a reflection of how good of golfers they really are as it was a reflection of how bad the weather was 'it was brutal, said Sorentino about Pawling and Blocks final battle. From the beginning I thought it would end up being me, Randy and Justin. So I was a little surprised, but when the weather is like that anything can happen.
 
Tune in next Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as the final threesome find themselves testing their all-important short game skills, seeing which two can wedge themselves into the final shows final showdown in two weeks.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.