Panic Sets in at Carnoustie

By November 9, 2005, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: The Big Break IV ' USA vs. Europe, is The Golf Channels fourth installment of its hit television series. As the title suggests however, this seasons format has been tweaked to include a team dynamic. But that in no way means the stakes arent high for each individual, as the contestants will be vying for entry into select European Tour tournaments in 2006.
 
In a first for the Big Break IV, two teams were headed to the Elimination Challenge after both squads failed to match Old Man Par during last weeks Immunity Challenge.
 
All seven remaining players would face elimination from the show and their chance at The Big Break.
 
Big Break IV
U.S. team captain Paul Holtby blasts out of a bunker in an effort to avoid elimination.
The biggest Elimination Challenge that weve been in so far. The most we had had was six, now theres actually seven. So, Ill take those odds any day, said T.J. Valentine on chances of staying alive.
 
We were relieved that the USA were there as well. Not that we wanted to knock them out, its just that it increased our chances of staying in, said Warren Bladon of Team Europe.
 
For the Elimination Challenge, each player would get two shots each from three different short game locations. At the end of each round the player with the shortest total distance away from the hole would be safe from elimination. The four remaining players then would play three holes of stroke play to see who would ultimately be sent packing.
 
Having a 40-yard shot over a couple of mounds in front of the green for their first shot, Guy Woodman set the tone by knocking both his attempts to within a total of 18 feet of the hole. His teammate Bladon ' but rival in this part of the show ' easily topped that mark with a total of just 10 feet.
 
Warren is a solid player ' all-around, said Valentine admiringly of his European counterpart.
 
Bladon, however, had to sweat it out as he watched his score threatened by both Paul Holtby of the U.S. and Thomas Blankvoort of Team Europe, the latter missing the mark by just inches.
 
With Bladon safe from elimination, the group started off to the next location but not before Marty Wilde Jr. collapsed to the ground, an apparent case of anxiety getting the better of him.
 
All this stuff was going through my head, it was horrendous, recalled Wilde Jr. on his mild panic attack. I was beating myself up. I was in the worst frame of mind ever.
 
Wilde Jr. rebounded nicely in the second round, however, as the players faced a long bunker shot with the added difficulty of trying to avoid its steep face.
 
Wilde Jr. almost holed his second shot and watched comfortably as his teammates Blankvoort and Woodman and the USAs Randall Hunt failed to match his prowess out of the sand. With just two players set to go, Wilde Jr. was starting ' albeit a bit to soon - to feel good.
 
The feeling was indeed short lived, as U.S. team captain Holtby stuck both of his attempts close to the flagstick ' for a total of about 6 feet - to win the second round and join Bladon in the next episode.
 
He hits two beautiful shots, the way he wanted to do it, and Im thinking, He deserves to be on the next show, said Hunt out of respect for his team captain Holtby.
 
The final short game shot had the players hitting a mid-ranged wedge from 70-yards over a bunker that fronted the green.
 
Blankvoort was the first to hit and quickly dashed the hopes of the other four as his wedge game was spot on. His total of just over 22 feet was good enough to lock up the final exemption from the short game portion of the Elimination Challenge.
 
Suddenly it was down to the final four and three holes of stroke play awaited. One twist, however, was that if there was an outright leader after two holes, he too, would win an instant exemption into next weeks show.
 
Big Break IV
Randall Hunt takes the long, lonely walk off the course after becoming the sixth eliminated player.
Theres a lot of pressure in this. The nerves start to come out, the pressure starts to show in people, said Valentine on the vibe of the last four contestants. If you dont play well youre going home.
 
Perhaps still battling his inner golf demons, Wilde Jr. again put himself in serious trouble on the first hole as his approach found the bushes, resulting in an unplayable lie. After a drop, he chipped on and then two putted for a double bogey. The silver lining for Wilde Jr. though, was that Hunt had also made a mess of things and he too made double bogey.
 
Woodman, meanwhile, put himself in the drivers seat by making birdie while Valentine knocked in a tough putt for par.
 
At the second hole, Woodman continued his roll with an easy par that was sufficient to claim the fourth exemption of the day. As for the others, things were as shaky as can be expected with the pressure building with each shot.
 
Valentine escaped the second hole with a bogey after hitting his tee shot way left into some scrub and stood at 1-over. Wilde Jr. found the green in regulation and was able to two putt for par and he now rested at 2-over. Unfortunately for Hunt, things were still going south as he once again made a double bogey to fall two back of Wilde Jr.
 
At the final hole, both Wilde Jr. and Valentine really tightened the screws on Hunt, each putting their tee shots on the green of the par-3. Hunt now needed nothing short of a miracle.
 
This is the Big Break IV and we have seen some pretty drastic things happen out here. Im not out of it. I still have an opportunity, said the ever optimistic Hunt on his dire situation to avoid elimination. Ive had hole-in-ones before. I know its possible. And Im thinking what a better time to have a hole-in-one.
 
But there was no miracle for Hunt as his last gasp effort fell just short of the green, affording Valentine and Wilde Jr. a big sigh of relief.
 
He never gets down on himself. He never says a bad word about anyone. He always keeps positive and keeps positive thoughts, said Wilde Jr. about the departing Hunt. Ive got a lot to learn from someone like him thats for sure.
 
This has been one of the most unbelievably things that I have gone through in my life, said Hunt, who bid a tearful goodbye to his newfound golfing friends.

The Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe airs each Tuesday at 9 p.m. (ET), while Big Break IV: All Access airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET), as part of the networks Top Shelf Wednesday lineup of premium programming.
 
Related Links:
  • Big Break IV Home Page
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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.